Nazareth to Bethlehem

4th Sunday in Advent

Luke 2:1-5 – In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

2013-12-22 - Nazareth to Bethlehem (IMG_6816)Stopping for lunch and giving our feet some rest at a scenic spot off of Rough Trail.  Red River Gorge, Slade, Kentucky.

I have never had the opportunity to travel to Israel, but thanks to the technology of Google Maps I was quickly able to determine that the distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem, via modern day roads, is about 100 miles.  Although the Bible provides no details of Joseph and Mary’s journey, their likely means of travel given their social status, was either by foot or possibly, in the best of conditions, riding on a donkey.  Either way, it was a long and difficult trip.

More than 700 years before the birth of Christ the prophet Micah foretold the place of the Messiah’s birth, “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.”  (Micah 5:2)  The reason Joseph and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem in the first place was because of the decree from Caesar Augustus, someone who did not even acknowledge the God of the Israelites.  If not for his decree there would have been no reason for a poor carpenter from Nazareth and his pregnant betrothed to make the difficult trip to Bethlehem.  When you stop to consider the events that took place to ensure the fulfillment of this prophesy you realize just how incredible they are, and perhaps you can begin to understand the sovereignty of God.

Now translate that understanding into the circumstances of your own life and you may begin to think differently about the things that take place on any given day.  When you put your trust in Christ you are turning your life over to the sovereign God, Creator and Sustainer of the universe, the one who had planned, in great detail, the birth of a Savior for his people, “whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.”

Read more about my “God is Revealed…“ category of posts

© Todd D. Nystrom and Todd the Hiker, 2013.