Nazareth weekend with Little Brother Marc

B – The offering by Mary and Joseph, at the time of the presentation of Jesus, is the offering of those who “cannot afford a lamb” (Leviticus 12:6-8), thus a modest family, but there are doubtless families who are even poorer (Leviticus 5:11).

When Jesus begins to teach and do miracles, the people of Nazareth are shocked, scandalised (Matthew 13:58):

“Where did the man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? This is carpenter’s son, surely? Is not his mother the woman called Mary, and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Jude? His sisters, too, are they not all here with us? So where did the man get it all?” And even the people of Jerusalem: “How did he learn to read? He has not been educated." (John:7:15).

The answer to their questions is indicated in the Gospel, and it shines with light:

“They went back to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew to maturity, he was filled with wisdom; and God’s favour was with him”.
We find this formula twice – in Luke 2:39f after the presentation of Jesus in the temple, and in Luke 2:51f, after the story of Jesus being lost and found in the Temple among the teachers. On two occasions, after two scenes that take place in the Temple, we are presented with Nazareth as a place of growth and grace, and as a school of wisdom. It is all the more remarkable that these texts in Luke make reference to the story of the child Samuel (Luke;2:52 is a quotation of 1 Samuel 2:26). But for Samuel, it is stated several times that his place of growth in the service of God is the Temple (1 Samuel 2:11, 18, 21 and 26 and 1 Samuel 3). So it is very significant and certainly very intentional that Luke takes up the same expression in order to bring out better that radical difference and the newness of Jesus’ situation: his place of growth, in stature and in strength and wisdom, was Nazareth. Luke emphasises this: in the scene with Jesus in the midst of the doctors, Jesus is surprised:
“Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”(Luke 2:49)
Our logic would be to say, “Yes, of course, he will remain in the Temple: that is his Father’s house, isn’t it?” The Gospel, however, says that his parents did not understand and that he went down with them to Nazareth:
“he lived under their authority and he increased in wisdom, in stature and in favour with God and with people” (v.51-52).
Of course he needed to be with his Father, but in the astonished eyes of his parents, Jesus discovered that being with his Father meant being with them at Nazareth, being the Son of the Most High means being subjected to them.

So for him, growing in stature and wisdom was something that happened at Nazareth, or in other words in the school of simple people and ordinary life, through his family relationships and relationships in the village, at the synagogue, at work, observing life, people, and nature while listening.