And he came and dwelled in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets…
We need not be troubled if we cannot find exact verbal precedents for the words here recorded. The idea that is suggested by the title "Nazarene" is apparent in more than one ancient prophecy; e.g. Isaiah 53.
I. CHRIST SHOWED HIS CONDESCENSION IN APPEARING AMONG HUMBLE AND EVEN CONTEMPTIBLE SCENES. Nazareth was an obscure provincial town. Nathanael seems to have considered it to be a place with a bad reputation (John 1:46). Yet here our Lord spent the greater part of his life - more than nine-tenths of it. Here he was brought up as a Boy, no doubt attending the elementary synagogue school, and later working at Joseph's bench. Over the neighbouring hills he had roamed, and there he had learnt to love the flowers which abound in this highland retreat; there, too, he had been able to love his brother-men as he saw them in their daily work and in the homely society of the little town. He was not kept, like Sakya Muni, from all sights of misery until his adult age forced them on his notice. Sorrow, suffering, sin, and death must often have come before his eyes. He never shrank into selfish isolation, but took his place with his suffering brethren, quite naturally, with lowliness and perfect simplicity, not a spark of pretentiousness ever leading them to expect that he would subsequently put forth the highest claims.
II. CHRIST WAS NOT THE CREATURE OF HIS CIRCUMSTANCES. His genealogy showed that he was not a mere product of his ancestry; now his local surroundings make it apparent that he was not formed by the world about him. Had he been brought up at Jerusalem, or Athens, or Alexandria, or Rome, some might have tried to explain him as an expression of some great movement in the city of his early days. But no one can say that Nazareth could produce Christianity.
III. CHRIST WAS SEEN IN EXTERNAL LOWLINESS BEFORE HIS DIVINE GREATNESS COULD BE PERCEIVED. He was known as the Nazarene before he was recognized as the Son of God. Many heard his local name who never saw his true greatness. This local name was even a hindrance to some; they could not believe in the Nazarene. Thus it was no great advantage to have known Christ after the flesh. His own people were slow to believe in him. Nazareth treated him badly, tried even to murder him by throwing him from a precipice of the rock-built town. It is possible now to blind ourselves to the true greatness and grace of Christ by looking too exclusively at his external life. We need to know Christ spiritually to enjoy the real blessedness of fellowship with him.
IV. CHRIST REDEEMED THE LOWEST THINGS THAT HE TOUCHED. He has made the title "Nazarene" one of honour, as he has converted the shameful cross into a token regarded with adoring gratitude. Now we take pilgrimages to the once obscure Nazareth as to one of the most sacred spots on earth. If Christ enters a lonely life he uplifts it and sheds over it a new and unexpected beauty. To him nothing is common or unclean. As the Friend of publicans and sinners, he does not only condescend to associate with degraded and neglected people; he lifts these people up to a new life. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.