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The "Sect Of The Nazarenes"
by Wayne Blank
The "what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled" in the above quote from Matthew is believed by some to be a reference to Isaiah 11:1, "There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots."
The original Hebrew word, pronounced nay-tser, translated into English as shoot, literally means a sprout, or branch, and figuratively a descendant. The name Nazareth is thought to be derived from the same original word, which would indicate that God either named the city Himself, or chose it to be the home town of the Messiah because of its name.
Jesus Christ was often referred to as a Nazarene, or Jesus of Nazareth, in both a complimentary way, by Himself and those who believed in Him, and in a derogatory manner, by those who didn't.
"I am Jesus of Nazareth" (Acts 22:8 RSV) (see On The Road To Damascus)
By unbelievers, who contemptuously called Christianity "the sect of the Nazarenes":
"Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46 RSV)
Fact Finder: (a) Is Christianity also called "The Way"? (b) Why?