The Humility of Nazareth?

J.C. Ryle

Observe what a lesson of humility is taught us by the dwelling place of the Son of God when He was on earth. He dwelt with His mother and Joseph "in a city called Nazareth." Nazareth was a small town in Galilee. It was an obscure, secluded place, not once mentioned in the Old Testament. Hebron and Shiloh and Gibeon and Bethel were far more important places. But the Lord Jesus passed by them all and chose Nazareth. This was humility.

In Nazareth the Lord Jesus lived thirty years. It was there He grew up from infancy to adulthood. We know little of the manner in which those thirty years were spent. That He was "subject to Mary and Joseph," we are expressly told. That He worked in the carpenter's shop with Joseph is highly probable. We only know that almost five-sixths of the time that the Savior of the world was on earth was passed among the poor of this world, and passed in complete retirement. Truly this was humility.

Let us learn wisdom from our Savior's example. We are far too ready to "seek great things" in this world. To have a place, a title, and a position in society is not nearly so important as people think. It is a great sin to be covetous and worldly. But it is no sin to be poor. It doesn't matter so much where we live, as what we are in the sight of God. Where are we going when we die? Shall we live forever in heaven? These are the main things to which we should attend.

Above all, let us daily strive to copy our Savior's humility. Pride is the oldest and commonest of sins. Humility is the rarest and most beautiful of graces. Let us labor and pray for humility. For humility let us pray. Our knowledge may be scanty. Our faith may be weak. Our strength may be small. But if we are disciples of Him who "lived in Nazareth," let us, at any rate, be humble.

Adapted from The Gospel of Matthew by J.C. Ryle (Chapter 2).

Originally published July 13, 2010.

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