Just three miles from the small town of Nazareth where Jesus grew up, archeologists are unearthing the sophisticated city of Sepphoris, the city Herod Antipas constructed as his administrative capital.

Crowned by Herod’s elaborate palace, Sepphoris was home to one of the largest theaters of the first century. The city was laid out in the latest Roman pattern with a colonnaded street leading to the forum. It also featured a gymnasium, an elaborate water system, and probably a bathing complex. Beautiful mosaics filled several of Sepphoris’s buildings.

The beauty and excitement of Sepphoris, with its Hellenistic ideas, wealth, and power, certainly impacted Nazareth and exposed Jesus to secular culture at a relatively young age.

Furthermore, Sepphoris probably provided opportunities for Jesus to study the culture of his world and interact with the highly sophisticated people of his day. A masterful teacher, Jesus used his understanding of culture to teach in relevant terms that both Jews and non-Jews could understand.

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