...and 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.
Today's Reading: Matthew 2:19-23
Devo Author: Matt Archer
Date: December 8, 2021
The town where I grew up had two middle schools—Central and Madison. Central (the school I happened to attend) had a proud tradition of excellence in academics and sports, while everyone (at my school, at least) knew Madison was terrible at everything. That cross-town rivalry produced some epic 6th grade sports battles, tested friendships, and caused budding romances to crumble. I’m sad to admit I called kids “Madison greenie-weenies” more than a couple of times in heated exchanges.
Years later, my sister actually ended up marrying a wonderful man who had attended Madison as a kid—that was a pill the 6th grade me would have found tough to swallow.
Now, if you thought Madison was trash, wait till you hear about the town where Jesus grew up—Nazareth. Let’s review how Jesus got there: An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to bring his family back from Egypt because those who had tried to kill Jesus were dead. So Joseph rose and brought his family back to Israel. But the region of Judea was now ruled by Herod’s son, Archelaus, who was very much his father’s son. (One of Archelaus’ first acts was to murder 3,000 people in the temple.) Joseph was warned in another dream and decided instead to move his family to the district of Galilee.
Matthew 2:23 (NIV) says: "...and 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."
Nazareth was the most despised town in the despised region of Galilee. Isaiah 53:3 (NIV) states: “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.” To be called a Nazarene was a fulfillment of this prophecy about Jesus. In fact, when the disciple Nathanael heard Jesus was from Nazareth, his first response was, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” (John 1:46 NIV). Calling someone “a Nazarene” was a statement meant to shame.
What is a statement of shame that’s been spoken in your life? Maybe it’s that you’re a failure, sinner, doubter, quitter, prideful, etc. Whatever it is, Jesus has experienced that same feeling of rejection. But, more than that, Jesus came to set you free from that shame. If you are a follower of Jesus, you are no longer defined by your shortcomings, your shame, or your failure. Jesus knows your pain and meets you there. Listen to His voice more than any others today.
Even if you’re from Madison.