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by Wayne Blank
It was in Nazareth that the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce the coming birth of Christ. Joseph and Mary lived there after their marriage, and it was from there, as the well-known account goes, they went down south to Bethlehem to register for the census that had been ordered by the Roman rulers (see Ancient Empires - Rome). It was during that trip that Jesus was born, in Bethlehem. Jesus did not however get to see Nazareth for some time - after being warned by an another angel (we can be reasonably sure that there were always a great many powerful angels around Jesus all His life, until, at the end, they had their orders to just stand back and watch Him be brutally assaulted and killed), Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt with the newborn Jesus to save His life from Herod. There they remained for a time until after the tyrant's death.
Nazareth is in the area that was allotted to the Israelite tribe of Zebulun during the Old Testament period (see Tribal Lands), although it is not mentioned by name at all in that part of the Bible. It is located in Galilee, about 100 kilometers (65 miles) north of Jerusalem, nearly half-way between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea Of Galilee. To the south is the Plain of Esdraelon, and across it, is Megiddo or Armageddon.
After He grew up, Jesus would have worked hard with Joseph (who is very likely buried somewhere around Nazareth) in the family construction business. Later, Jesus began His ministry at the synagogue there. Altogether, Jesus probably lived in Nazareth about 25 years.
One of the greatest ironies about Nazareth is that, although it is now world-famous as the Savior's home town, the people of His time held Him with such low regard, to the point of contempt and even outright hate, that He didn't perform many miracles there. In fact, it eventually got so bad (He was at least twice run out of town, and once nearly thrown over the town's cliff by a mob) that He actually had to move away to Capernaum (on the north coast of the Sea Of Galilee) to keep His neighbors from killing him!
Fact Finder: What popular saying has its origin because of Nazareth?