Summary: We followed Him to Bethlehem, we followed Him to Egypt, we now follow Him to Nazareth. Incidentally, when was the last time you made it a habit, a practice to follow Jesus?
WHEN CHRISTMAS CAME TO NAZARETH
Scripture Reference: Matthew 2: 20-23
Two weeks ago we went to Bethlehem where Jesus was born. Joseph and Mary traveled the 5-day, 90-mile journey because Caesar Augustus, the Roman Emperor at that time, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the nation.
Caesar did it to collect taxes to finance his lifestyle of sin, but God allowed it to pave the way for a debt we owed because of sin.
Bethlehem, the House of Bread, made room for Jesus, the Bread of Life so that we can be fed spiritually with eternal life.
The house of bread – Bethlehem, that was the birthplace of a shepherd, David, is now the birthplace of the Chief Shepherd, Jesus, so that we can become sheep of God’s pasture.
When Jesus came to Bethlehem, shepherds praised, angels proclaimed, Mary pondered, while we saw the divine providence of God.
We then followed them to Egypt because
“16. Herod was furious when he learned that the wise men had disobeyed him. Sending soldiers to Bethlehem, he ordered them to kill every baby boy two years old and under, both in the town and on the nearby farms, for the wise men had told him the star first appeared to them two years before.”
They had fled to Egypt to escape the anger of Herod a king who was threatened by a baby who would be king - Jesus, but God allowed them to escape because the baby was already King of Kings– Christ the Messiah.
This was a war between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Herod. It was a war between the sovereignty of God and the royalty of Herod, [between God’s right to dominion and Herod’s right to a kingdom].
Egypt is a type of the world and it symbolizes enslavement and bondage. It was called the land of bondage. The land that represented all that was pagan and sinful.
When Jesus came to Egypt it showed that while He was in the world, the world was never in Him. His parents taking Jesus to Egypt symbolized that God protects us, prophecy’s to us (give us a word), and provides for us --- in the midst of our Egypt (our world that is pagan and sinful).
We followed Him to Bethlehem, we followed Him to Egypt, we now follow Him to Nazareth. Incidentally, when was the last time you made it a habit, a practice to follow Jesus?
Jesus told Peter and Andrew in Matthew 4:19, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Verse 20 of that same chapter records, “And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.”
Matthew 8:21 record this brief conversation: “Another of his disciples said, ``Sir, when my father is dead, then I will follow you.’’ 22. But Jesus told him, ``Follow me now! Let those who are spiritually dead care for their own dead.’’
Mark 2:14. And as he passed by, he saw Levi (Matthew) the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.
Luke 9:23. And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Later, in one of his talks, Jesus said to the people, ``I am the Light of the world. So if you follow me, you won’t be stumbling through the darkness, for living light will flood your path.’’ – John 8:12
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. – John 10:27
Have you decided to follow Jesus wherever He may lead you? Will you follow Him for what’s in His hand as the multitudes in gospels were accustomed to or will you follow Him for what awaits in Heaven? (Expound, if time permits)
Now we follow Him to Nazareth because “When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, and told him, 20. ``Get up and take the baby and his mother back to Israel, for those who were trying to kill the child are dead.’’
22. But on the way he was frightened to learn that the new king was Herod’s son, Archelaus. Then, in another dream, he was warned not to go to Judea, so they went to Galilee instead, 23. and lived in Nazareth. This fulfilled the prediction of the prophets concerning the Messiah, ``He shall be called a Nazarene.’’
A. A WARNING from God (vv. 21-22).
1. Joseph moved his family back toward Israel. He was not told where to go in Israel but it seems that he was headed back to Judea. Then he heard that "Archelaus was reigning over Judea" in the place of his father Herod. He was "cut from the same cloth" as his father. Once he executed 3,000 Jews for a revolt in which most of them took no part.