"And he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: 'He will be called a Nazarene' " (Matthew 2:23, NIV).
The identification of Jesus as "a Nazarene" is unique to Matthew's Gospel. This is the only direct reference to Christ by this title, although the Bible writers frequently refer to Him as "Jesus of Nazareth." Ordinarily, the word, "Nazarene," identified a native of the town of Nazareth. Though not a native of this humble town, Jesus grew up there and practiced His carpenter's trade there previous to the beginning of His earthly ministry (see Luke 4:16). Because of His close association with Nazareth and its people, Jesus became widely known as "a Nazarene."
The name, "Nazarene," was also used as an epithet of disdain and reproach because of the obscurity and poverty of Nazareth. The disdain with which the town was regarded is reflected in Nathanael's question, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46, NKJV). Later, the scorn was heaped upon Jesus' followers when they were given the nickname of "Nazarenes" (see Acts 24:5).
It was prophesied that Jesus would come, not as a celebrated personality, but as a humble man among men. As the lowly Nazarene, He fulfilled this messianic prophecy. Though born in the highly regarded city of Bethlehem, Jesus was never accorded the honor of being called a Bethlehemite. To be known as the lowly Nazarene was part of the condescension of the Son of God. Because of the lowly Nazarene, we who were lost and without status have been made full citizens of God's kingdom. "Although He was the Prince of life, He did not take His position with the great and honorable, but with the lowly, the oppressed, and the suffering. He was the despised Nazarene. He had not where to lay His head. He became poor for our sakes, that we through His poverty might be made rich."--Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, pp. 620, 621.
My Prayer Today: Lord, through Your condescension, I have become Your child. What an undeserved honor! Amen.