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Beliefnet is pleased to present the first 7 days of devotionals from Max Lucado’s “3:16: The Numbers of Hope” (Thomas Nelson, 2007). This is Day 7 of the week-long devotional. If you missed the first day, stay subscribed to this feed to start over at the end of the week.
DAY 7–GOOD-BYE, NAZARETH
“Jesus went into Galilee,
proclaiming the good news of God.”
–Mark 1:14
Jesus’s obedience began in a small town carpentry shop. His uncommon approach to his common life groomed him for his uncommon call. “When Jesus entered public life he was about thirty years old” (Luke 3:23 MSG). In order to enter public life, you have to leave private life. In order for Jesus to change the world, he had to say good-bye to his world.
He had to give Mary a kiss. Have a final meal in the kitchen, a final walk through the streets. Did he ascend one of the hills of Nazareth and think of the day he would ascend the hill near Jerusalem?
He knew what was going to happen. “God chose him for this purpose long before the world began” (1 Pet. 1:20 NLT). Every ounce of suffering had been scripted–it just fell to him to play the part.
Not that he had to. Nazareth was a cozy town. Why not build a carpentry business? Keep his identity a secret? Return in the era of guillotines or electric chairs, and pass on the cross. To be forced to die is one thing, but to willingly take up your own cross
is something else.
I wonder, what kind of love is this? When you come up with a word for such a love, give it to Christ. For the day he left Nazareth is the day he declared his devotion for you and me. According to Peter, our lives were a “dead-end, empty-headed” (1 Pet. 1:18 MSG). But God, “immense in mercy and with an incredible love . . . embraced us” (Eph. 2:4 MSG).
Jesus left Nazareth and brought us to life.
–Max Lucado
From 3:16: The Numbers of Hope, by Max Lucado (2007). Used with permission of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Inc.

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