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All About GOD - Growing Relationships with Jesus and Others

Picture Jesus as a boy . . .
Jesus goes home.  Matthew 2.19-23

Being able to picture loved ones in their homes-especially when they are far from us-is reassuring and sometimes heart-warming.  As I write, I am visiting Dylan, who is going to college in Flagstaff, Arizona, about 500 miles from home. 
It is currently a winter wonderland, but c-c-c-old for this So Cal girl!  Seeing the mountainous surroundings, and scouting about the town of friendly people enables me to picture him, and see him in my mind's eye when I go back home.
Ah, home.  Jesus was going home.  Matthew describes: "After Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, "Get up! Take the child and His mother and go to the land of Israel, because those who sought the child's life are dead." So he got up, took the child and His mother, and entered the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned in a dream, he withdrew to the region of Galilee. Then he went and settled in a town called Nazareth to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets, that He will be called a Nazarene."  Matthew 2.19-23
Jesus ~ going home.  How old was Jesus when he returned to Israel, and settled in what would be his hometown of Nazareth?  All we know for sure is that it was after the death of Herod Agrippa; it is believed Jesus was somewhere near three years old.1
Nazareth had been home for Joseph and Mary when they left to travel to Bethlehem to register for the census.  Have you ever tried to picture Jesus in the town that he lived in and around for most of his life?  Nazareth was a beautiful little agricultural town of probably between 300 and 500 people, which lay in a hollow in the hills in the south of Galilee.  But a young boy had only to climb the hills for half the world to be at his door.  He could look west and the waters of the blue Mediterranean would meet his eyes in the distance, with ships going out to the ends of the earth.  A boy had only to look at the plain which skirted the coasts, and he would see, slipping round the foot of the very hill on which he stood, the road from Damascus to Egypt, the land bridge to Africa.  It was one of the greatest caravan routes in the world.  There was also an eastern road that left the coast and went out toward the frontiers of the Roman Empire-silks and spices found passage on this road, as did the Roman legions.  Though small, Nazareth was no backwater town.2
Don't miss this--the Christ Child was born in Bethlehem, travelled to and from Egypt, and now to Nazareth, where family members and villagers no doubt welcomed Mary and Joseph and Jesus.  While it might have seemed logical to Joseph and Mary to return Jesus to Bethlehem, city of David, or even Jerusalem, to position the young Messiah near the Temple, for worship and training, neither was to be the case.  Though brutal Herod the Great was dead, apparently, his son Archelaus ascended the throne wanting to prove that he was as fierce as his father.  Not wanting to be trifled with, his first action was to slay nearly 3,000 Pharisees in retaliation for a sedition that began when a Roman golden eagle emblem was removed and destroyed from the campus of the holy Temple in Jerusalem.3  Brutal.
God protected the little family by directing Joseph's course of action through dreams-even the last decision not to return to the area where Herod Archelaus now ruled.  First, God spoke to Joseph, telling him it was time to go home-in a dream-then once on the journey, to go to Nazareth-also in a dream. 
We saw in Matthew chapter one that God had spoken to Joseph, telling him to take Mary his wife-in a dream.4  God warned the wise men not to return to Herod-in a dream.5  And then God told Joseph to take the Christ Child to Egypt-in a dream.6
God spoke and directed these prominent individuals in the life of our Lord through dreams.  
Do you believe God still speaks to his children in dreams? 
Do you believe God still speaks to his children?
Hmmm . . . what's your experience?
Stay tuned ...
1 - Anne Rice, Jesus Christ: Out of Egypt, is a really interesting read, a novel, well researched, about what life might have been like for the boy Jesus as he readies to leave Egypt, and return to life in Israel.  Interestingly, Rice places Jesus at seven years old when he returns which is quite different.
2 - William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, The New Daily Study Bible
3 - About Bible
4 - Matthew 1.20-21 **What else did God tell Joseph in this dream?
5 -  Matthew 2.12
6 - Matthew 2.13 - **What else did God tell Joseph in this dream was to take place?

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