Jesus…the Nazarene (Matthew 2:19-23)

Once again we find Joseph, who the New Testament calls righteous, obeying the voice of God. And again we are reminded that we never hear the voice of Joseph, but he clearly hears the voice of God, and he obeys.

After Herod dies, Joseph is told in a dream by an angel of the Lord to take his family and leave Egypt.

“But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, and said, ‘Get up, take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; for those who sought the Child’s life are dead’ ” (Matt. 2:19-20).

Joseph responds the same way as the last time he was instructed by an angel of the Lord: he obeys.

“So Joseph got up, took the Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel” (Matt. 2:21).

Now Joseph wasn’t told exactly where to go, except into the land of Israel. He obeys but then needs to decide where to live in Israel. It is here that God expects him to use wisdom since when he arrives in his own district of Judea, he finds Herod’s son Archelaus is there and is afraid for his family (Matt. 2:22). He then travels to Galilee and settles in a quiet little town of Nazareth.

This is remarkable. We all have a general sense of what God calls us to do, just as Joseph knew he was to leave Egypt and go home to Israel. We are to worship, serve, provide for our family, yet God does give us freedom and wisdom of how exactly this will work out. And even in exercising wisdom, we see God’s sovereign hand directs Joseph into a town that itself was a fulfillment of prophecy.

And came and lived in a city called Nazareth. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: ‘He shall be called a Nazarene’ ” (Matt. 2:23).

God could have directed Joseph even more specifically, but he does not. For the rest of his journey, he will need to exercise…and faith.



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