You will look in vain to find an Old Testament prophecy that specifically states that the Messiah will live in Nazareth or will be called a Nazarene. But when you come to understand the meaning of this phrase you see it’s the fulfillment of many Old Testament prophecies. The Old Testament prophecy that was fulfilled is that the Messiah would be despised and rejected of men. Nazareth was esteemed of small account, and so were its citizens, the Nazarenes. One of the disciples asked, expecting a negative answer, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth of Galilee?” Of course not! He knew the prophecies concerning the Messiah but couldn’t quite understand how the Messiah could come from such a lowly place as Nazareth. It was the last post before entering gentile territory in the northern regions of Galilee and no respectable Israelite would live that close to the world. The powerful, the prestigious, the rich looked down upon the Galilean residence and especially those of Nazareth.

Jesus was despised and rejected. He came to the world and found no room. He was born in a stable. Herod tried to have him murdered. Those of political power and religious prestige all rejected him outright and mocked him and cursed him and crucified him. Yet, he chose to identify with the downtrodden and the unimportant and the outcasts of society.

This makes it a little easier to understand why most of Jesus’ miracles took place in Galilee. It also helps us understand why the Jewish establishment in Judea was immediately suspicious and non-receptive of this Jesus of Nazareth in Galilee. But the poor and the sick and the outcast welcomed him. You might even notice that eleven out of the twelve apostles were Galileans. The only one not from the regions around Nazareth was Judas Iscariot.

Jesus once expressed his purpose for coming by reading from Isaiah 61, “…the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.”

“And 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.” Matthew 2:23