Jesus the Nazarene

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“…he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said  through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.” Matthew 2:23

What did it mean for Jesus to be a Nazarene? Some believe that the term “Jesus of Nazareth” is a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, but I wonder if that title was primarily used to describe the humanity and the humble background of Jesus? When Philip excitedly told his friend about Jesus, Nathaniel’s response was similar to what everyone in the area thought: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

What is it like to live forever with people either expecting too much from you or not enough? Perhaps your education, profession, travels have taken you far from your hometown. When you return to family and friends of your childhood, do you find the “fit” not quite what you anticipated? You are not who you were. Circumstances and people have changed you. There is a strangely uncomfortable feeling; you love the people and places of your past but it’s not “you” anymore.

Transfer that experience to Jesus. He was the Creator God. Now he prays in the gardens he created. He and the Father and the Spirit knew perfect harmony. Now he hears squabbling in his family and among his disciples. His walked in the beauty of heaven. Now he travels the road to Calvary.

So how did he do it? He couldn’t shed the reputation of Nazareth but he didn’t let it define him. When his family called him demented, he simply told a story of profound truth. He knew who he was and why he had come and so, while he was always alert to his surroundings and people, he stayed true to his calling and purpose. John records the perfect example of this: Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, wrapped a towel around his waist…he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet… The Nazarene, the Son of God, the King of the Universe fulfilling his calling.

Have you experienced family situations such as are described above? What is your immediate reaction when friends or family do not appreciate your experiences? How might your reactions change if you remembered that Jesus, too, experienced such misunderstanding?

by Marilyn Ehle
Used by Permission

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