There isn’t anything more human than having a favorite place to be, a home close to the heart. For many, being home for Christmas evokes warm memories of gathering with loved ones, the scent of freshly baked treats filling the air, twinkling lights adorning the tree, and the excitement of unwrapping gifts. The familiar traditions and festive atmosphere create a sense of comfort and joy, extending far beyond the holiday season.
There is no biblical record that specifically mentions Jesus having a favorite place. We know there was no room for Him in Bethlehem. He was under two years old when the government sought to kill Him. His own people rejected his public ministry. He was not welcome in Samaria and dismissed in His hometown of Nazareth. Our Lord was essentially homeless, unwelcomed nearly everywhere except Bethany at the house of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. Jesus becomes a frequent visitor there.
What made Bethany a favorite place for Jesus? And by favorite place, I mean a place where He felt most at home. Was it the taste of homecooked meals, the scent of sweet-smelling nard, the miracle of a friend’s resurrection, or His ascension nearby?
In God’s Favorite Place on Earth, author Frank Viola suggests these characteristics attracted Jesus to Bethany: “Cleansed lepers, resurrected humans, transformed servants, extravagant worshippers, brothers, sisters, fathers, and disciples all sitting around a table where Christ is the Head —feasting, fellowshipping, and rejoicing with Him. That is Bethany!”
God desires to make every human heart His favorite place. I want to be a “Bethany” where Jesus feels right at home, and everyone is welcome to experience the wonders of His love.