Home Sweet Home

“…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…” (Eph. 3:17)

Back in November, it was reported that a British archaeologist thinks he has found the childhood home of Jesus in Nazareth. Ken Dark, a professor at the University of Reading, began surveying the site about fourteen years ago when he was studying the history of the town of Nazareth.

“I didn’t go to Nazareth to find the house of Jesus…,” Dark told the BBC. “Nobody could have been more surprised than me.”

This isn’t the first time that archaeologists have claimed that the house belonged to Mary and Joseph, and was where Jesus was raised. Even back in the 19th century some archaeologists suggested that it was their home, but researchers in the 1930s discredited the idea.

Dark found the dwelling, under a 5th-century church building and convent in central Nazareth, and it is consistent with homes built in the first century. He researched the archives and artifacts from earlier digs, as well as excavated evidence unearthed again back in the 1950s, he told the Jerusalem Post. What his study showed was a house carved into a rocky hillside, built by a master stoneworker or carpenter. And as we know, in the gospels, Joseph is called a “tekton,” which was an ancient word for craftsman.

Of course, there’s no way—twenty centuries after the fact—to prove that the house was Jesus’ boyhood home with complete certainty. It’s not like He carved His name in his bedroom closet, or they found some old family documents that had the same mailing address. It certainly could be a home from the time Jesus lived in Nazareth, but there’s no distinct evidence that it belonged to that particular family.

“On the one hand, we can put forward a totally plausible case that this was Jesus’s childhood home,” Dark told CBS News. “But on the other hand, actually proving that is beyond the scope of the evidence. It’s debatable whether it would ever be possible to prove that.”

The ruins of the house show that it is middle class, at best, which is a reminder that Jesus was not raised in a palace, fitting for the King of kings, but something pretty ordinary. He came to meet us where we are, from the stable to the cross.

All of this is interesting, no doubt, but in reality it is not that consequential to our faith in the 21st century. It’s not so important that we know where Jesus lived in Nazareth, in the first century, but whether He now lives in our hearts today. Have we opened the door to Him, and is He at home in our lives?

One of the great prayers in all of the Bible was written by the apostle Paul to the church at Ephesus:

“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” (Ephesians 3:15-18, NLT)

That is my prayer for my church family today. May our Lord Jesus be at home in your hearts through faith, and may you be rooted deeply and securely in His love for you. I am grateful for each of you, and I look forward to seeing you Sunday.

–Pastor Ken