Summary: Joseph and Mary traveled from Galilee to Judea to be registered / taxed and to be at the right place at the right time to give birth to Jesus (vision).
Opening illustration: In December 1903, after many attempts, the Wright brothers were successful in getting their "flying machine" off the ground. Thrilled, they telegraphed this message to their sister Katherine: "We have actually flown 120 feet. Will be home for Christmas."
Katherine hurried to the editor of the local newspaper and showed him the message. He glanced at it and said, "How nice. The boys will be home for Christmas." He totally missed the big news - man had flown!
Many people today make a similar mistake when they hear the word Christmas. They don’t think of Jesus and His miraculous birth. But instead, they think of Santa Claus, reindeers, snow falling all around us, family gatherings, festive meals, decorations, and gifts. To them, Christmas brings nostalgia and memories of childhood. Even some have deleted the name of Christ and call is X-MAS or HAPPY HOLIDAY – what a shame!
Now, all this celebration isn’t wrong. But if that’s all that Christmas means to us, we are missing its true significance. The real meaning of this special day is summed up in the words of the angel to the shepherds on that night long ago: "I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2: 10-11).
Let’s turn to Luke 2 and take a closer look at why Joseph and Mary traveled from Galilee to Judea when Jesus was to be born:-
Introduction: Have you ever wondered why should a pregnant woman and her husband travel a long distance during the last days of the delivery? Was it just to be registered / taxed at their ancestral home or was it for their honeymoon or was there some other underlying reason? In many Asian countries it’s a cultural trend for women to travel to their parents’ home just few weeks before they deliver. And usually they would stay there for forty days or more after the delivery. In today’s passage we will see both Joseph and Mary going to their ancestral home in order to be registered and taxed. Not only that, they had to be at the right place and at the right time for Jesus to be born.
Why did Joseph and Mary travel from Galilee to Judea when Jesus was to be born?
Joseph and Mary traveled from Galilee to Judea to be registered / taxed and to be at the right place at the right time to give birth to Jesus (vision).
Let’s take a closer look at why Joseph and Mary traveled from Galilee to Judea when Jesus was to be born:-
(A) To be Registered / Taxed
• The entire Roman world was taxed by Caesar.
• Not because he wanted tax.
• Because one person (Mary) was out of place (to fulfill Micah’s prophesy).
Application: Why is the world being constantly taxed (ongoing global social and environmental problems)? Have you ever wondered why our taxes and price of commodities go up every couple of years without any raise? Have you wondered about the inflation, rising costs and fiscal slum down? If you think and reflect in coordination with God’s Word you will understand that the Church i.e. the ‘Body of Christ’ is out of place (sad but true).
The act of being taxed and yielding to it leads us to the next level of being in the right place-
(B) To be at the Right Place ~ (had to be at Judea)
• Joseph and Mary went from Galilee (means circuit), which was the wrong place.
• Mary was at the wrong place at the wrong time. (Galilee)
• Mary went to Judea or Judah (means praise) even in the pain of rejection and birth pangs. No wonder Mary sings the magnifica in Luke 1: 46 where she says, ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord!’
Mary was at the wrong place at the wrong time (Galilee - circuit) - went to Judea or Judah (in Hebrew it means praise) even in the pain of rejection and birth pangs she walked that road to Judea. No wonder Mary sings the ‘Magnifica’ in Luke 1: 46 where she says, ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord!’ Jesus was to be born in Bethlehem as prophesied by Micah. Bethlehem means ‘house of bread.’ No wonder the Bread of Life had to be born in the right place (Bethlehem) for things to take shape in the spiritual realm too.
Application: In order for the vision that God has conceived in us to take birth, we need to come out of the land of Galilee meaning ‘Circuit’ (i.e. daily chores of life with our spiritual life being dead). We can’t afford to be in a land called programs, banquets and parties. But move to a land of Judah meaning ‘Praise.’