and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene."
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.
Seen his star.
1. The Jews had the priority of time, so also they had a superiority in the manner of the declaration. To one a living angel; to the other an inanimate star.
2. To the shepherds it was done much more feelingly than to the magi, it was loving, joyous, confidential, minute. "Fear not," etc.
3. To the Gentile the intimation was distinct, sufficient, but it was a silent finger. But to the shepherds there were voices, "a multitude of the heavenly host praising God," etc. We all have a great amount of truth floating in our minds; what we want is, to have it made definite, and brought to a focus. That the "star" did for them. Probably it so drew them, that they could scarcely resist its attraction. We cannot be too thankful to God for it, that truth as such is fascinating. Every one who has once lost and then recovered a Christian hope will understand the joy of the magi when they saw the star again. As they went, where did they look? Not at the road, nor at their feet, but at the star high up above them. How many go doubtingly, slowly, heavily, wearily, wrongly, because they look at their feet and not at the star.
(J. Vaughan, M. A.)1. Shine like that star.
2. Speak like that star.
3. Lead like that star.
(G. T. Coster.)
1. In its creation;
2. In its position;
3. In its motion;
4. In its brightness. Let us follow the guidings of this star.
(1) (2) (3) (J. M. Ashley.) 2. Nature needs revelation. 3. Knowledge requires action. (T. R. Stevenson.) (W. B. Carpenter. M. A.) (G. T. Coster.) (Baring-Gould.) (J. Vaughan.) (Baring Gould.)
(2) (3) (J. M. Ashley.) 2. Nature needs revelation. 3. Knowledge requires action. (T. R. Stevenson.) (W. B. Carpenter. M. A.) (G. T. Coster.) (Baring-Gould.) (J. Vaughan.) (Baring Gould.)
(3) (J. M. Ashley.) 2. Nature needs revelation. 3. Knowledge requires action. (T. R. Stevenson.) (W. B. Carpenter. M. A.) (G. T. Coster.) (Baring-Gould.) (J. Vaughan.) (Baring Gould.)
(J. M. Ashley.)1. Science helps religion.
2. Nature needs revelation.
3. Knowledge requires action.
(T. R. Stevenson.)
(W. B. Carpenter. M. A.)
(G. T. Coster.)