by J. Gerald Harris

The Nazarene
Gerald Harris
Matthew 2:23

When the Lord Jesus Christ was born, the Bible says that He was called Jesus, which means "he will save his people from their sins." Also, when He was born it was predicted that His name would be called "Emmanuel," which means "God with us." But now the prophet says that when the Lord was born He would be called "a Nazarene." Now, the name "Emmanuel" could be called His heavenly name, and "the Nazarene" could be called His earthly name. So far as we know, the Lord Jesus never used the name "Emmanuel" to describe himself, nor did anyone else call Him by that name during His earthly ministry.

On the other hand, the term "Nazarene" was frequently used about the Lord himself and by others. He called himself "Jesus of Nazareth." Many other people referred to the Lord as "Jesus of Nazareth." It may well have been the most common way of identifying the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, the name "Nazarene" was also used to describe those who became followers of Jesus. In the 24th chapter of Acts we are told that the Lord's disciples were called "the sect of the Nazarene." Now, that name has really kind of held on down through the years because there is a very fine denomination of Christians in our day called "Nazarenes." They are God-loving, Bible-believing people - the Nazarenes.

But I want us to look at this title today - "He shall be called a Nazarene." First of all, let me say that it is a title which refers to

The term "Nazarene" is obviously a reference to the place where Jesus Christ was brought up as a boy - a little place called Nazareth.
But in the time of the Lord Jesus, there were several things about this place of Nazareth. First of all, it was a place of poor reputation. It was a small town in the southern part of Galilee. So far as we know, the name "Nazareth" is never mentioned in the Old Testament.

The Jewish historian Josephus makes no reference whatsoever to the little village ...

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