2/19/16

A Quick Stop in Nazareth, Israel #travel #VisitIsrael

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It was late in the afternoon when we arrived in Nazareth, the childhood town of Jesus. We'd already been to Old Jaffa, Caesarea, and Megiddo that day, so we were nearing exhaustion. We made a quick stop at the Basilica of the Annunciation. This Roman Catholic church commemorates Mary's Annunciation here and it's filled with beautiful mosaics that were gifts from around the world. I didn't take photos inside the church, to honor the holiness of the site.

The Book of Luke records the annunciation of Mary, which is in layman's terms is the time the angel Gabriel appeared to the virgin Mary to tell her she would be the mother of the Christ child.

Luke 1: 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.” 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Just a few yards from the church stands Mary's Well, which we also saw as we drove through Nazareth. There is an underground spring in Nazareth, and many believe this well to the spring is the site of the annunciation. There is also a Greek Orthodox church a little higher on the hill that could have been the site of the annunciation. So, what we're really sure of is, it happened somewhere close to that vicinity in Nazareth.
Mary's reaction to the angel Gabriel appearing ("greatly troubled") seems small in the text in comparison to how she might have actually reacted. Think about it, what if an angel came to you and told you that you were going to become pregnant without having sex, and give birth to a child who will grow up to be the savior of the entire world? Even more surprising, Mary's age at the time is estimated to be between the age of 13 and 16 years old. Nazareth was a wonderfully humbling place to visit. It also made me smile to think of Jesus as a young boy, playing on the hills, climbing the trees, splashing in the springs, and gazing up with wonder at the same stars we see today.

As darkness began to fall, our group headed out of Nazareth, towards dinner and accommodations near the Sea of Galilee. I'll tell those stories next week!

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6 comments:

  1. Wow, what an amazing experience it must have been to visit Nazareth!

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  2. What an amazing experience. Please share more pics! :)

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    1. I promise! This was the only stop where I didn't take a bunch of pictures.

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  3. I am taking a group of pilgrims to the Holy Land in Oct 2017. I read your packing list. Now that you have returned, is there anything you would revise on your packing list? or are there things you would have done differently?

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    1. How exciting! Actually I was very happy that I had packed everything on my list because I used every single thing I took along. In addition, there wasn't anything I was missing that I wished I had with me. I hope you have a fabulous and blessed trip!

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