This Day in History: 0000-12-13
December 13 – Matthew 2:23
…This fulfilled what the prophets had said: “He will be called a Nazarene.”
The Messiah would come from the town of Nazareth.
Matthew 2:19-23 – When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. “Get up!” the angel said. “Take the child and His mother back to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead.”
So Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and His mother. But when he learned that the new ruler of Judea was Herod’s son Archelaus, he was afraid to go there. Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for the region of Galilee. So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth…
Matthew tells us there had been a prophecy that the Messiah would come from the town of Nazareth. We don’t have this prophecy recorded in the Old Testament, but it seems to have been well accepted by the way Matthew states it. We have to remember that Matthew wrote his gospel to the Jewish people with the intent to prove to them that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Much of what he writes assumes the reader knows and understands Jewish history and law.
Even though Jesus was born in Bethlehem, circumstances (which we’ve discussed over the past few days) led Joseph and Mary to move to Egypt for some time in order to escape the sword of Herod. After that, they were led to the town of Nazareth, which is where they stayed.
What strikes me most about this particular fulfillment is that it required the cooperation of Joseph. Time and again an angel appeared to him in a dream and told him to do something crazy. And he obeyed. Every time. How I desire to have such obedience!
Of course, it was no accident that God chose Joseph to be the earthly father for His precious Son. Of course, He knew Joseph was a man who would obey. But let’s imagine for a moment how different the story would have been if Joseph hadn’t been who he was.
My point is, God’s plans are set. We can’t mess them up. BUT, He chooses those He can count on to play the really big, important parts. If we want to experience a life of significance – if we want to be big players who are trusted with the parts that greatly impact eternity – we have to be obedient. If we’re going to be trusted with things that matter, we have to be trustworthy!
But here’s the really big, important part of that: It is never through our own strength that any one of us will achieve this goal. It is through simple, childlike faith that gets up in the middle of the night and moves across the world because God said to. Faith like Joseph’s. A faith, not in his own goodness, or ability to protect his family, or anything else in himself; but in the God to whom he had entrusted his life – a God he KNEW could be trusted, and therefore MUST be obeyed. May we all be so faithful!