Daily Readings & Thought for July 2nd. “CALLED A NAZARENE”
Today we began reading the New Testament from Matthew’s gospel. It is understood it was written primarily for the Jews as it quotes the O.T. prophecies quite a lot; one or two are prophecies that we would not have readily identified as prophecies fulfilled in the life of Jesus, this is a lesson for us in trying to correctly identify prophecies about events that relate to the time Jesus returns – to know beforehand all that is to actually happen.
God created a situation in which the birth of his Son, the Messiah they were expecting, was obscured from the self-centred religious leaders. One of the main reasons they gave for rejecting Jesus was to say, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from Bethlehem …” [John 7 v.41,42]
Matthew ch. 2 ends by telling us that his parents, when they returned from Egypt “went and lived in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, ‘He shall be called a Nazarene.’” What prophets said this?
We need to put the Scriptures together to get the full picture of the forebears of Mary and Joseph and the significant characters among their forbears. We are about to read in 2 Samuel how David was born in Bethlehem. Joseph, a carpenter, evidently lived and worked there for about 2 years before they fled, at the command of the Lord to Egypt. The wise men, we are not told how many, found the one born to be “king of the kings” in “the house” (2v.11) in Bethlehem.
They then went and lived in Egypt until after the death of Herod (v.20) and then came to Nazareth again to re-establish life there (Luke 2 v.39). No doubt Joseph took his tools with him to support them with carpentry work in their stays in Bethlehem and Egypt. Jesus would have lived in Nazareth for something like 25 years before he astonished the nation when he began his ministry. The record of “the first of his signs” [John 2 v.11] at Cana shows that his mother had some degree of awareness of his powers.
Truly, as a hymn says, ‘God works in a mysterious way his wonders to perform’ – but those who read God’s word diligently can unravel many of those mysteries: the major mystery challenging us now – is the full nature of the events that are to occur at the return of Christ. We believe they will only fall fully into place in our understanding as they start to happen. Let us diligently read and then think deeply – and watch.