#18: ANOTHER VISIT TO NAZARETH
(Matthew 13:54-58, Mark 6:1-6)
Comment: In Life of Jesus devotional #13 we read about Jesus’ first visit to Nazareth after he started his public ministry. Matthew and Mark tell us about a subsequent visit Jesus made to Nazareth.
Spring, A. D. 29, Nazareth of Galilee
After a trip to Jerusalem, Jesus comes again to Nazareth and this time his disciples are with him. As they walk the dusty roads toward the synagogue, Jesus remembers living in this small town as a boy. The population of Nazareth in this day was only about 150 people.
As the years went by Joseph and Mary had other children. Jesus was the oldest of at least seven children with four younger brothers and at least two younger sisters (Matthew 13:55-56, Luke 2:7). Every Sabbath Jesus’ family would go to the synagogue, and at least three times a year they traveled south to the temple in Jerusalem, about a five-day journey from Nazareth (Luke 2:41, 4:16, Exodus 23:14-17). Jesus was habitually obedient to his parents, as the Word of God commands (Luke 2:51, Proverbs 1:8). Jesus never worked a miracle during those years (John 2:11), for his Father hid him like an arrow in a quiver while He “polished him” for what was ahead.
Messianic Prophecy Fulfilled:
(Given 712 B. C.)
“. . . in the shadow of His hand has He hid me,
and made me a polished arrow;
in His quiver has He kept me close and concealed me”
(Isaiah 49:2b, AMP).
During those years Jesus was tempted in all points as we are; yet he never sinned. He always chose good and rejected evil (Hebrews 4:15). As a child, Jesus fed upon God's Word and he exercised his faith in it. This caused his spiritual senses to become trained and matured (Isaiah 7:14-16, Hebrews 5:13-14).
One spring when Jesus was 12, he and his parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover. Even at this age, Jesus was exceedingly strong spiritually and filled with the wisdom of God, and the grace and favor of God were upon him (Luke 2:40). While in Jerusalem, Jesus became separated from his parents and he started listening to the teachers in the temple and asking them questions. All those who heard his questions and answers were amazed at his understanding of the Scriptures and the ways of God.
Old Testament Promise Fulfilled:
“Yes, I have more insight than my teachers,
for I am always thinking of your decrees.
I am even wiser than my elders,
for I have kept your commandments”
(Psalm 119:99-100, NLT).
Jesus loved his visits to the temple, as described in the Psalms: “The one thing I ask of the LORD - the thing I seek most - is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD's perfections and meditating in his Temple” (Psalm 27:4, NLT).
After Mary and Joseph and their relatives left Jerusalem and went a day's journey, they realized that Jesus wasn't with them. So they returned to Jerusalem and searched for him until they found him sitting in the temple precincts with the teachers engaged in a question and answer session. Mary asked him, “Son, why did you do this to us? Look, your father and I have sought you anxiously!” Jesus answered, “Why did you look for me? Did you not know that I must be [busy] in the [affairs] of My Father?” (Luke 2:49, LITV) For Jesus knew the call of God on his life even at this early age.
During the following years in Nazareth, Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and men (Luke 2:52). This included physical growth, spiritual growth, mental growth, and learning how to relate to other people and to God in greater maturity. His life was one of righteousness, peace, and joy and God was fully pleased with him and the people approved of him (Romans 14:17-18). Jesus found favor and good understanding in the sight of God and men, for he kept God's mercy, truth, and wisdom and love as strong qualities in his life (Proverbs 3:3-4, 12:8, Matthew 5:44-46).
Comment: On part two of this devotional we will travel with Jesus back to Nazareth and study what happened there. But now I believe we should pause and ask ourselves, “What were the various areas of growth which Jesus came into?” A prophecy in Isaiah 11:1 about Jesus says that he would be like a Branch that “will grow and bear fruit” (AMP). We Christians are called to follow in Jesus’ steps and sometimes we have emphasized the bearing fruit part, which is important, but I wonder if we have put enough emphasis on the “growing up in Christ in all things” part (I Peter 2:21, Ephesians 4:15). And sometimes we have exercised our faith to receive blessings from God, but not emphasized using our faith to grow and to bear good fruit. All of this is important. Let me encourage you to read this devotional again and make a list of all the areas of growth that Jesus came into which I described above. Then ask the Lord, “What areas of growth do I need to concentrate on now?”
Note: much of this devotional is from The Life of Jesus Foretold, pages 125-128.