Summary: Joseph and Mary had to be taxed, be at the right place at the right time to give birth to Jesus (their vision / mission).
Subject: Why did Joseph and Mary travel from Galilee to Judea when Jesus was to be born?
Complement: To be registered / taxed and to be at the right place at the right time to give birth to Jesus.
Idea: 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.
Homiletical Idea: We need to be at the right place at the right time when God wants to give birth to the vision that He has already conceived in us.
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.
Our passage is taken from Luke chapter 2 verses 1 to 7.
Lets 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
1. Caesar taxed the entire world.
2. Not because he wanted tax.
3. Because one person (Mary) was out of place (to fulfill Micah’s prophesy).
When we use the word taxed or registered as a metaphor, we can easily see why we as individuals and as a church constantly face trials and tribulations – just because we are not in the right place. Why have we been having numerous problems – 9/11 / Afghanistan / Iraq / Israel etc. and constant natural disasters? It’s just because we as a church are not in the right place. We are fighting against the will of God! We are fighting against our trials and tribulations. It’s the act of being taxed (facing trials and tribulations) and yielding to it, brings us to the right place - just the place where we need to be in God’s plan. The first 28 years of my life I lived in India. In 1990 there was an opening for me to teach in the Middle-East*. I was the only post-graduate selected amongst all the other candidates holding doctorate degrees. God was beckoning me to move. I yielded to His call and made the move.
Application: Why is the world being constantly taxed (ongoing global social and environmental problems)? Because the Church i.e. the ‘Body of Christ’ is out of place.
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
1. Joseph and Mary went from Galilee (in Hebrew it means circuit), which was the wrong place.
2. Mary was at the wrong place at the wrong time. (Galilee)
3. Mary 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!’
The act of being taxed is to break that circuit (routine of life) to bring us to the place where the Church falls in line with its calling and the will of God. For Jesus to be born, Joseph and Mary had to get out of Galilee, which was the wrong place and travel to Judea – the right place. God wants to take us to a different level and He can’t do it as long as we continue to stay in Galilee (daily routine of life with no spiritual growth). He wants us to be in Judea (place or act of worship) so that we can bring forth what God has already conceived or planned for us. It could be a worship ministry, arts ministry, prophetic ministry, healing ministry, a prison ministry or even a church plant. No matter how hard we try, it can’t take birth in the land called Galilee but only when we move into the land of Judea, that is the dimension of praise and worshipping God in whatever circumstances we are in. After my life of 28 years in India, God showed and moved me into the right place - the Middle-East* (My Judea). The teaching position there, gave me enough time to give birth to establish numerous underground churches and the ministry to Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and nominal Christians in a persecuted land. I had to be taxed there thoroughly (undergo trials & tribulations) because now I was in the right place for this radical ministry to germinate. I had to move from my dimension of Galilee (India) to the level of Judea (Middle-East*) where I could praise God even in the most difficult situations that I had been through during that phase.