The City of Nazareth
The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. His delight is in the fear of the Lord, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, And faithfulness the belt of His waist. ((Isaiah 11:2-5).
The Hebrew word “netzer,” for “branch” is the same word that Nazareth is probably derived. The meaning is that of a green tree cut down. Isaiah foretold this cutting down, the destruction of the nation, of the country, of its city; but he says there shall come forth a shoot, just a little sprout that nobody will think to be of value; something that everyone will despise: and “The Spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of Jehovah.” The prophecy declared that when Messiah comes He shall be despised, counted nothing worth, just a branch, a sprout aka a “netzer”.
Nazareth is where Gabriel was sent by God to the Virgin Mary, it was the childhood home of Jesus and where Jesus was rejected by his own community. Nazareth is found in the New Testament Scripture and foretold by the prophets. It is located inside a bowl atop the Nazareth ridge north of the Jezreel valley, an isolated village in the time of Jesus and it was a Jewish town until the 7th century AD. This little town, set high up off the main roads at the foot of the mountains where great merchants of Greece passed, Roman legions marched around and priests passed through; was not highly favored in the days of Jesus. There were conflicts down in the valley, but Nazareth being so far out of reach it was never affected by them. In the quotation, He shall be called a Nazarene; someone belonging to the city that is not worth naming; someone from a city off the highways of life who knows nothing of great movements of the world; a Nazarene. There was a Byzantine church was built over the place where it is believed that the angel Gabriel announced the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary, however, 1966 the Roman Catholic Church began constructing a new basilica over these remains and today this church is the largest church building in the Middle East. The Greek Orthodox Church nearby is built over the town’s water source.
God’s Holy Word stands true in the man “Jesus of Nazareth” from the time of His Divine inception through his life, death, burial and resurrection.
“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women! But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end. Then Mary said to the angel, How can this be, since I do not know a man? And the angel answered and said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible. Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.” (Luke 1:26-38).
“Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,” (Luke 2:4).
“Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead. Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. 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.” (Matthew 2:19-23).
“So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.” (Luke 2:29-40). “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (Luke 2:52)
“It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan.” (Mark 1:9).
“When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulon and Naphtali—to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: Land of Zebulon and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Matthew 4:12-17).
“Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, that He departed from there. When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” (Matthew 13:53-58, Mark 6:1-6; Luke 4:16-30).
“They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Hosanna in the highest!” And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.” (Matthew 21:7-11).
“Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, You also were with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied it before them all, saying, I do not know what you are saying. And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.” (Matthew 26:69-71, Mark 14:66-72).
“And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, Do not write, The King of the Jews, but, He said, I am the King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written, I have written. Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be, that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says: They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots. Therefore the soldiers did these things.” (John 19: 17-24).