DAY 222- BIG PICTURE IN A YEAR - THE LAND
Reading: Matthew 5:19-23
Where were you born? Were you also raised there? Although Jesus was born in Bethlehem, he was raised in a town called Nazareth in Galilee, our focus for today’s devotional study. At the time of Jesus’ birth the people of God were a remnant of Jews that had returned to the Promised Land +-500 years earlier from Babylon. They had the entire Old Testament as their Scriptures – it had already been complete for some 400 years.
After spending a couple of years in Egypt, Joseph did not return to Bethlehem, his hometown, for fear that Herod Archelaus might do the same as his father and have Jesus killed – so he moved the family to Nazareth, little knowing that this fulfilled many prophecies (Matthew 2:6; Hosea 11:1 and Judges 13:5).
Nazareth was a small town where olive oil was harvested from olive trees, the oil that was used to anoint kings and priests. Perhaps it is fitting then that Jesus grew up and ministered there, since He is our Prophet, Priest and King.
Nazareth is quite a distance from the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus ministered with his disciples. Although Jesus grew up in Nazareth and worshipped in the local synagogue, he did not get a very warm reception from them later on once he began his ministry. In fact, they planned to push him off the cliff of the town when he didn’t perform any miracles there. It was this lukewarm reception that caused him to spend more of his ministry time in Capernaum, Chorazin and Bethsaida, near the Sea of Galilee.
All this points to the humanity of Christ. God arranged it so that he was born in a stable and grew up in a obscure small town, far away from Jerusalem. Jesus learnt a trade in Nazareth from Joseph his father. Jesus would have worked as a carpenter/stone mason for many years before going into fulltime ministry. He would not have been considered an exalted person as a tradesman, but would have been respected as a hard-working man, much like a mechanic or plumber today.
After ministering for three years, Jesus was opposed and rejected by the religious leaders of the day, who plotted to kill him out of envy of his popularity with the people. Jesus was humbled even further to the point of death on a cross. From the grave, he was raised to life and was exalted to his Father’s right hand with all rule and authority given to him.
Yes, Jesus was a human being just like you and I, who lived in a place, worked in a place and ministered in a place.
Dear Father, when we think of Jesus growing up in Nazareth, it makes us wonder why You put Him there. Yet we see that after his humbling, you exalted him. Amen
FOR THE FAMILY
Briefly explain today’s study in an age-appropriate way. Show the kids what it was like for Jesus to