He shall be called a Nazarene

"Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" (John i. 46).

It is evident from this that it was a place of no repute -- we might almost say a place of bad repute -- a place at all events that could lend no human lustre to Christ.

Why should such a place be chosen? Why not Jerusalem, Hebron, or Cesarea? The answer is doubtless to be found in the principle defined by Paul, that receives such frequent illustration throughout the course of Scripture: "God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty ... that no flesh should glory in his presence" (I Cor. i. 27, 29).

Nazareth was among the "weak things" of the age. It could give no prestige to the work that God was about to do. Therefore that work would come before men without human claims or recommendations.

The glory of God alone would be seen.

... It is in the universal disposition of men to lean towards influence and respectability in their enterprises, and to avoid everything of a damaging or even questionable association. The very word Nazareth thus becomes a symbol of the divine nature and origin of the work of Christ; and of the principle upon which divine ends are achieved.

Wherein God may have a work on earth at this time, it will be found that the same principle has been adopted. America has given us the gospel which venerable and learned England was alone supposed to be possessed of learning enough to discover. And it is in the hands of the poor and the unlearned that its work is being done.

Nazareth was off the highway of human traffic. It stands in a secluded part of the Holy Land in its northern section. The seclusion is obtained by the formation of a circle of hills in the heart of the mountain range that bounds the plain of Esdraelon on its northern side.

Access to this circle of hills (forming a natural amphitheatre) is obtained from the plain by a narrow pathway, which strikes through a cleft in the side of the mountain.

The pathway gradually opens out into a valley, which increases in width as the traveller advances, until at last it opens out into an amphitheatre of hills, on the northern side of which lies Nazareth, well to the top of one of the hills -- a straggling village now -- probably greatly reduced from what it was in the days of Christ, having shared in the shrinkage that has befallen everything in the Lord's land in this the day of its desolation.

In this secluded nook there was greater quiet and simplicity of life than in the busier centres and channels of human activity, in more southerly parts of the land. It was fitting that such a quiet place should be chosen as the sphere of the Lord's human life in probation. It was more adapted to the culture of a divine state of mind than the activity of a great city.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 6