Week of January 6 - Day 5

Day 5 Read: Matthew 2:19-23

But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead.” 21 And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.  

Reflect: How did Joseph end up taking his family to Nazareth?

Consider: After the death of Herod, an angelic announcement allows the holy family to return to Israel, to Nazareth, where Jesus will grow up. Matthew tells us that this fulfilled the prophecy that he would be a Nazarene, although there is no verse which corresponds exactly to this. There could be a reference here to the Hebrew word nezer (meaning ‘a branch’) which is used of the Messiah in Isaiah 11:1; there could also be a reference to the Nazirite vow under which Samson the judge of Israel was placed (Judg. 13:7) since, like Samson, Jesus was consecrated to God as the deliverer of his people.4

Respond: Looking back on the entire week, for the wise men, God used a star to point them to the Messiah. What kinds of events does God use to point others to His Son today? Jesus’ birth shattered religious and cultural barriers. How does He still do this today?

4 Iain D. Campbell, Opening up Matthew, Opening Up Commentary (Leominster: Day One Publications, 2008), 28.