“Pulled into Nazareth / —I was feelin’ ‘bout half-past dead— / Just need some place: / where I can lay my head. / ‘Hey, mister, can you tell me / Where a man might find a bed?’ / He just grinned and shook my hand: / ‘No,’ was all he said”—Robbie Robertson of The Band: “The Weight”

“Philip found Nathanaeland said: ‘We have found Him of whom Moses in the law—also the Prophets—wrote: Jesus of Nazareth…’ Nathanael asked, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”Philip replied, ‘Come and see’” (John 1:45-46).

“Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have dens, and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head’” (Matthew 8:20).

One cold December day, at a crossroads town, a hitchhiker in sneakers walks in from the frozen highway to a 24/7 truck stop. A lone rope holds his coat together. A law officer quickly approaches, and quietly questions him. A local resident witnesses the interrogation in-progress, recalls his own early days hitchhiking, and intervenes: “Hi, neighbor. Are you on the road today? I know what it’s like to be on the road. Can I buy you a hot meal?” The hitchhiker accepts. The questioning ends. 

Another lawman, downtown, declares the traveler a “vagabond,” an unworthy wanderer who doesn’t deserve help from “the travelers’ fund”—intended by local churches for—needy travelers.

Undeterred, the local resident offers to pay for the traveler’s overnight stay in a motel, along with next-day bus-fare to a Christian mission in a city 90 miles away. “No strings attached,” no expectations, and no hope of repayment. Again, the hitchhiker accepts.

Luther visited his hometown, Eisleben, one last time, January 1546. He was cold and ill. One month prior, he wrote a friend, describing himself as old, cold, weary, lazy, worn-out, chilly, one-eyed, and half-dead. Luther died there Feb. 18, 1546. A bedside note read: “We are beggars. That is true.”

When Jesus returned to His hometown, Nazareth, folks failed to see God disguised as a poor traveler.

Gary Altman


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(1) comment


Thank you Gary. That is the kind of love we all need in these trying times.

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