Matthew 2:13‑23 Protection of Christ (2)
This world was not Herod’s final home either. He eventually did lose all the earthly things he had clutched and grabbed at, and killed so many people to keep his grip on: his throne, his crown, his power, his wealth, his accomplishments. You can’t take anything with you into eternity but who you are, and what you've done. Scary thought! If you’d like to leave that behind you, too, then call on God! Ask Him to forgive you and fill your life with His own.
This event marked the third fulfillment of scripture
“Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
“’A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.’”
Pharaoh, long ago, had tried to wipe out the Jews by killing their newborn boys, but God saved one, Moses, who would lead all God’s people into the promised land. Now Herod tried to wipe out the Messiah by killing all of Bethlehem’s young sons. But God saved one, His Son, Who would lead all those who believe into eternal fellowship with God.
After Herod had died, it was safe for Joseph to bring his family back to Israel,
“After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.’”
It’s not clear how long Joseph and Mary spent in Egypt, but not long enough for their family to grow any larger, in any case.
As Joseph was obeying God and following His guidance, he became concerned about the situation in Judea,
“But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee.”
This is an excellent example of how living by faith really works. Common sense told Joseph and Mary to be careful, and faith told them to wait on God’s word.
God gives you enough to obey with, and as you obey, and pray, and experience His presence, and stay in His word, God gives you continued insight. In what ways has God interacted with you this week as you thought through His word, prayed, and looked to obey Him?
This final move for Joseph and his family is the fourth fulfilled prophecy in this chapter,
“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.”
There isn’t a specific prophecy about the Messiah being called a Nazarene; but, Matthew may have been thinking about the town’s name of “Nazareth,” which was taken from the word for “shoot” in Hebrew. The prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Zechariah all referred to Messiah as the “shoot of Jesse.”
But, there is another aspect of Jesus being called a Nazarene.
Have you ever wondered if what you do matters, in the great scheme of things? Nine tenths of Jesus’ life was spent in secular work as a carpenter (or, some say, a stone cutter). Only three and half years were spent in full-time ministry. Earning a living and supporting His family was Jesus’ greatest calling, His God-ordained calling, for most of His life. And Jesus humbly obeyed that calling.
Jesus did not come to occupy a royal palace. He wasn’t born into the families of the religious aristocracy, the chief priests, he didn’t attend seminary so he could be among the religious ivory tower intelligencia. Jesus wasn’t rich, He wasn’t handsome, he didn’t even have a good zip code. Jesus was the people’s savior, he was part of the lowly working class from a despised town.
Today he would ride the bus from the poor part of town to his day laborer’s job. He'd be dressed in Goodwill clothes, clean but frayed. His hands would be rough, his shoes worn, his hair cut by mom. He would live in a small apartment shared with his overflowing family, maybe shopped with food stamps, and brought lunch to work in a rumpled paper bag. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” You and I should take some pause at that question. That’s where Jesus came from, because that’s who Jesus came for – people who know they need him, people who don’t have it all.
If you want God to show you more, believe and act on what He has shown you already
The surest way to receive God’s guidance is to follow it. If you want to hear God’s voice next time, then follow it this time.
If God had His Son spend most of His life working a menial job in a despised town, if that was God’s perfect and pleasing will for the Lord Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, then never mind if your home and your work seem awfully humble and low.
God has given it to you as your calling. It is good, perfect and pleasing to Him. What you are doing is important to God, it is every bit as much important as Jesus’ work was for Him. Your obedience to God’s call matters.
All passages taken from the New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
(Thoughts taken from “Adventuring through Matthew, Mark and Luke” by Ray Stedman)