I was recently reminded of this exchange between two of Jesus’s first followers:
45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” — John 1:45-46 (NRSV)
In the eyes of the powerful and wealthy ruling elites of the Roman Empire in the first century A.D., all of Judea was an impoverished, troubled backwater. But even among those living in Judea, the city of Nazareth had a bad reputation.* And that was Jesus’s hometown. There is a special place in God’s heart for the lowly and despised and God is about the business of turning the world upside down.
*I don’t want to be partisan or vulgar, but I do want to be clear, back then Nazareth would have been viewed in the same way that some in our own time view Haiti and Africa.