Nigerian Pastor T.B. Joshua has just concluded a two-day event in Nazareth, the historic hometown of Jesus Christ.
The event, tagged: “Nazareth Meeting With TB Joshua,” was held at the Amphitheatre of Mount Precipice, a site of Biblical significance for Christians.
Thousands of international pilgrims flocked to the event in Northern Israel from over 50 nations, which was additionally broadcast live on Emmanuel TV and local Israeli television in Arabic and Hebrew.
Several prominent personalities and political figures, including Tanzanian President John Magufuli – who was represented by his wife, Janeth – were in attendance.
“I feel humbled walking in the footprints of Jesus,” Joshua told the multi-national crowd, stressing that it was “God’s design” for Jesus to come from Nazareth, which he described as “the morning of Christianity”.
In a heartfelt sermon, titled: “We are known by our love,” the cleric spoke on the divine significance of love.
“What makes us human is not our ability to think but our ability to love. This means love is life and if we miss love, we miss life,” he exhorted the crowd, emphasising that love must be unconditional.
“If you want to love better, you should start with someone who hates you, has bad feelings towards you, who sees nothing good in you,” he stressed.
Continuing his message the following day, Joshua called on all present to “love one another irrespective of our religion or race for love comes from God”.
According to the cleric, who is the Founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations with headquarters in Ikotun, Lagos State, Nigeria: “Love for fellow man breaks down all barriers; it melts all hindrances. Love has ears to hear the heart. It dissolves prejudices, misunderstanding and suspicion.”
Speaking practically, he added: “If we are able to overlook the failures, mistakes and weaknesses of our neighbour, then there is genuine love because there is no perfect man on earth.”
After his exhortation, the cleric began to pray individually for the thousands present at the free-entry event, many who came with various infirmities and sicknesses in hope of a miracle.
Li Gul Chua, who travelled from China, testified that she could walk freely without crutches for the first time in six years after Joshua prayed for her.
Many fell to the floor at Joshua’s touch, immediately rising to declare they were healed or delivered from unclean spirits that tormented them.
As the event neared completion, the cleric collected an offering to support the Nazareth area, further explaining how the choice of the Amphitheatre of Mount Precipice to host the unique meeting unfolded.
“I visited here three years ago and I saw this place was abandoned,” he explained, showing clips of the unkempt area, overgrown with bushes during his first visit.
“Given the Scriptural significance of this place, I was moved to contact the Mayor, Ali Sallam, and ask his permission to renovate,” he continued, stating this was Emmanuel TV’s “contribution to the place where Jesus’ father and mother came from.”
Joshua also referenced the opposition from some religious figures that accompanied the announcement of his visit to Israel, which intensified in the days leading to the event. “Even though there was rancour, it was an act of God,” he submitted.
He called on the foreign pilgrims present to make Nazareth their “second home”, encouraging them to “visit places such as hospitals, schools and other areas that need your attention and show love because the love we give away is the only love we keep.”
“This is the first time in hundreds of years we have heard the name of Jesus proclaimed publicly in Nazareth,” Pastor Hadad, a Nazarene, emotionally commented, underscoring the significance of the event in the volatile, predominantly Muslim region.
“I used to see Jesus as just a story from history we used to attract tourists,” Itay, an Israeli tour guide, bluntly stated. “Today, I saw – through T.B. Joshua – that the name of Jesus actually has power.”
News of the event reached international media, with coverage in The New York Times, Reuters and Israel’s leading newspapers Haaretz and Jerusalem Post.
. Ihechukwu Njoku, a freelance journalist based in Lagos, Nigeria, contributed this piece and supplied the photographs.