Nazareth, in Galilee, was the city where our Lord was raised. It was north of the Plain of Esdraelon in a valley open only to the south. It is fifteen miles from the Sea of Galilee and twenty miles from the Mediterranean Sea. Nazareth is 1300 feet above sea level. The city’s name is derived from a Hebrew word, nay’-tser, meaning branch. We’re reminded of the prophecy, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him-the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord-and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.” (Isaiah 11:1-3)
When we read Matthew 1 we see that the Lord’s human genealogy ties him to Jesse and David. The throne was to remain in David’s family, God promised. “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.” (II Samuel 7:16) “The Lord swore an oath to David, a sure oath that he will not revoke: One of your own descendants I will place on your throne.” (Psalm 132:11) At the Annunciation Mary was told by the angel, “‘The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David….’” (Luke 1:32) Although raised in Nazareth, the Bible teaches us that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. This was the town from which the Messiah was prophesied to come. (Micah 5:2)
Jesus taught that through our relationship with him we receive a fruitful life. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Branches could not bear fruit by themselves, Jesus said. One has to remain attached to the vine. (John 15:4)
To be rooted in Christ we must be in the Word. “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.” (Psalm 1:1-3)
To be rooted in Christ we must be prayerful. “…pray continually;” (I Thess. 5:17) The Bible’s telling us to pray continually is challenging us to be in an on-going conversation with the Lord. As we live by the Spirit we’ll display the fruit of the Spirit, “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
To be rooted in Christ we must be with other believers. Jesus said, “‘For where two or more come together in my name, there am I with them.’” (Matthew 18:20) Gathered together with other believers we “abide” with Christ. All of these habits will cause us to grow.
Growing things takes time. J. Oswald Sanders wrote, “When Paul urged the Ephesians to ‘redeem’ the time (see 5:16 KJV), he was treating time like a purchase.” Our time with God is an investment. It’s an investment necessary for growing in God. We’re to grow, for as Peter encourages us, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (II Peter 3:18) Let’s grow together as believers who are “rooted” in Christ!
Pastor Ken Atchison
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com.