Sunday, March 4, 2012
Jesus In Nazareth
It seems that Joseph and Mary stayed with their baby in Judea for some time. Within six weeks of Jesus’ birth, they carried out several ceremonies required by the law of Moses, and for some of these they made the 10 km journey to the temple in Jerusalem. Back in Bethlehem, travellers who came for the census began to leave, and the family of Jesus was able to live in a building referred to as ‘the house.’
There the baby Jesus was visited by men from the east known as magi (people who studied the stars). These men worked out that a new king had been born in Judea, and they eventually found him in Bethlehem. But the governor of Judea, Herod the Great, a part-Jew whom Rome had appointed ‘King’, was disturbed at the prospect of a rival king emerging .
Herod learnt from the magi the time of this king’s birth, and from the Jewish scholars the town of his birth. Pretending he would go and pay homage, he asked the magi for more precise details, but when they were told not to report their findings, they kept clear of him and escaped home. Herod then planned to kill all Jewish boys in the Bethlehem area who were under two years of age, thinking this would get rid of the potential rival. God therefore directed Joseph and Mary to take the baby Jesus to Egypt for safety.
Jesus, like his ancestors back in the time of Moses, ran around as a toddler on the soil of Africa. But when Herod died, Joseph and Mary decided to return to Palestine. It was not safe, however, to stay in Judea, because Herod’s son Archelaus was now king, and he was as cruel and unjust as his father. The family therefore went north to settle once more in their home town of Nazareth. As the years passed, Jesus developed in mind, body and spirit. For the first time, a child was growing up in the way God intended.