“Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.”1 Corinthians 1:26
Let’s go back in time 2,000 years, to the lakeshore of Galilee in northeastern Israel. There we will ask the villagers for one word to describe their neighbors in tiny Nazareth. I imagine they will probably say “nobodies.” It isn’t personal, but no one believes that somebody special would ever emerge from the little backwater town, least of all God’s long-promised Messiah.
We can understand, then, people’s great skepticism upon hearing that Jesus was a Nazarene (John 1:43-46 and 7:40-52). Scripture teaches that this reaction fulfilled prophecy: the coming “Branch” would, by and large, be shunned and despised (Isaiah 11:1, 49:7, and 53:1-3; also Psalm 22:6-8 and Matthew 2:23).
When I share with my fellow prisoners the news that God has adopted me as His son, there are many who receive this with disbelief. By outward appearances, it would seem I am disqualified for a heavenly inheritance. By any human measurement, I am a “nobody.” Exactly! My boast is legitimate only because it is in the Lord’s prodigal grace.
“Nothing in my hand I bring,/ Simply to Thy cross I cling.” (Augustus M. Toplady, 1776)