Matthew 2 v 22,23. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea, in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene”.
Joseph obeyed the angel carefully because now, even after his return from Egypt, a new threat appeared on the horizon. After Herod the Great died, his Kingdom was divided into four parts called “TETRARCHIES”. His oldest son Archelaus ruled in Galilee and was also notorious for his cruelty. Not long after his father’s death, he also ordered a massacre. (This is told to us by the Jewish Historian, Josephus). He was finally removed from power. Antipas, a second son of Herod, ruled in Antipas: the North. He was not considered such a threat and so Joseph, Mary and Jesus went to Galilee rather than Judea to settle in the town of Nazareth in which they once lived. (Luke 1:26).
The prophecy cited in Matthew 2:23 cannot be found in the Old Testament. The reason is that Matthew in typical Jewish fashion was not quoting a specific text but rather summarising a prophetical theme.
The point is that Jesus was the legitimate Messiah of Israel. He came to save His people from their sins through His suffering. His childhood experiences were a foretaste of the massive national rejection he would experience when he grew to be a man.
It is in all our hearts to reject the truth and that is why we need the sovereign power of God to open our minds to the truth of Salvation.
What an unusual story for this King. The return from Egypt of Joseph and his family is reminiscent of the Exodus which took place centuries earlier, in which thousands of Israelites were saved from slavery. But this unusual King Jesus then still a child, was destined to open a way back to God, for millions of despairing sinners. His death and resurrection would constitute a new ‘exodus’ for millions as they move from darkness to light.
Have you made that move yet?
A miraculous conception, a lowly birth in a stable, angels singing in the night skies, men from the east visiting, Herod trembling, flight to Egypt, last minute decision to live in Nazareth – all these things seem to show us that an uncommon King has been born. Let us fall on our knees and worship him.