I am preparing for the celebration of Christmas this Advent through the Journey to Bethlehem, a free online Advent guide from Scripture Union USA. It is a 26 day journey ending on Christmas Day.
Day 19 of the Journey to Bethlehem is titled The Return to Nazareth.
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.”The pieces of the prophecy puzzle are falling in place. Centuries of bits of information about the Messiah were being played out and Matthew points this out in his account of Jesus.
So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 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, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.” (Matthew 2:19-23)
Micah tells us the shepherd ruler of Israel will be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2.) Hosea gives us the news that this ruler will be the Son of God and come "out of Egypt" (Hosea 11:1.) Isaiah uses the word "branch" to describe this ruler which sounds like Nazarene in Hebrew and is perhaps what Matthew is referring to in verse 23 (Isaiah 11:1.)
I am amazed how we as individuals plug into the master plan of God. Here God gives Joseph very clear directions through an angel just as he had before, but some details are left unclear, even though they were part of God's plan. Joseph and Mary selected Nazareth in Galilee to raise Jesus. Apparently without specific instructions from God. And Matthew tells us that Jesus being called a Nazarene would fulfill a prophecy and God's master plan.
Your will is mysterious to me in many ways but thank you God for including us, our decisions, our circumstances, our lives, by your Grace, in your will.
P.S. Here is a link to the previous days of my Journey to Bethlehem.