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Discovery Magazine 8/1/2018

The Tiny Town of Nazareth

The Nazareth House is located behind
the Basilica of the Annunciation pictured below.

Have you ever driven through a very small town? Maybe you even saw a sign that gave the name of the town and told how many people lived there. It might have said somethinglike, Sullivan POP 688. The letters POP stand for the word "population," which means the number of people who live there. A town that only has 688 people is very small. In fact, many churches have more people than that during a Sunday worship service. In the past, some villages were even smaller than that. They had only about 100 people or less.

When we look in the Bible, we read about a little town named Nazareth. The Bible does not tell us how many people lived there, but it was very small. In fact, it was so small that people did not think anything important could come out of the town. It did not have big crops to export to other cities. It did not have large numbers of fishermen who sold fish. Nazareth did not have rich merchants who traded goods or big businesses that made nice clothes or jewelry.

We recognize the name of this tiny village because Jesus was from there. Even though Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He grew up in Nazareth. When He began His ministry, people wondered about His hometown. How could such an amazing teacher come from such a tiny town? Philip, one of His original followers, was trying to explain to his friend Nathanael that he found the Messiah. He told Nathanael that Jesus was from the town of Nazareth. Nazareth was so unimportant that Nathanael did not think the Messiah could be from there. He said, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). He quickly found out he was wrong, and something very good did come out of Nazareth: the Lord Jesus Christ.

Herodian lamps, similar to the one pictured below, helped archaeologists to determine the time period of the Nazareth house.

Because Nazareth was so small, archaeologists did not find any remains of the houses or buildings for many years. Some people even said that the Bible was wrong when it mentioned Nazareth. They taught that there was no village called Nazareth during the time of Jesus. These people went on to say that the writings about Jesus in the New Testament could not be true, because they claimed Jesus could not be from a town that did not exist.

In December of 2009, however, the way the world looked at Nazareth changed. An archaeologist named Yardena Alexandre announced the discovery of a house that dated to the time of Jesus in the little town of Nazareth. This house was just where the Bible suggested the town should be. The house had two rooms and a courtyard that totaled about 900 square feet. Many houses in the USA are four or five times that large. In fact, some of you reading this article may live in homes where one big playroom is 900 square feet. The artifacts found in the house, such as pieces of pottery, show us that the people who lived there were most likely poor.

Those people who doubted the Bible were put to shame. They claimed that the Bible made a mistake when writing about Jesus being from Nazareth. They were wrong. The discovery of the small Nazareth house helped to show that the Bible does not make mistakes. Once again, archaeology provided us with even more evidence to prove that the Bible is God’s Word.

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