The Move to Nazareth


Many people find reason to hate our Savior once they learn He is a Nazarene; thus, by settling in Nazareth, Jesus begins to fulfill His work as Messiah.

“He went and lived in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled: ‘He shall be called a Nazarene’” (v. 23).  - Matthew 2:19–2

After learning that Archelaus is ruling in Judea, Joseph takes Jesus and Mary to Nazareth in Galilee (Matthew 2:22). This is wise, for Archelaus can be as ruthless as his father Herod and might very well be a threat to Jesus.

Matthew tells us the move to Nazareth fulfills prophecy, and yet verse 23 does not quote the Old Testament directly. The use of “prophets” and not “prophet” helps explains why this is so. Jerome, a famous biblical scholar from the early church, said Matthew, “in speaking of the prophets in general…has shown that he has not taken the specific words but rather the sense from the Scriptures” (Commentary on Matthew 1.2.23). The evangelist is giving us a general teaching about the Messiah found throughout the Old Testament.

In Jesus’ day, Nazareth is considered a backwater village from which nothing good can come (John 1:46). To be from Nazareth brings scorn and ridicule, and many people question Jesus’ validity because of His hometown (7:40–44). However, there are many passages in Scripture that tell us the Messiah will be despised and afflicted (Isa. 53:1–3; Dan. 9:26a). Many would find reason for hating our Savior once they learn He is a Nazarene, and so in settling in Nazareth, Jesus begins to fulfill His work as Messiah.

Coram Deo

Understanding how Jesus fulfills the Old Testament means that we have to look at more than just isolated verses and proof-texts. As Matthew 2:23 indicates, the apostles teach that Jesus fulfills the broad themes, ideas, and stories found throughout the Old Testament. If we are to understand the vocation Jesus fulfills, we must be well-versed in the Old Testament. Take time this week to study the Old Testament sacrificial system or the exile.

Passages for Further Study
  • Psalm 69:6–8
  • Isaiah 49:7
  • Matthew 27:15–23
  • 1 Peter 2:4–8

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