Summary of passage: Once Herod died, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to return to Israel with Mary and Jesus. Joseph obeyed but settled in a town called Nazareth in Galilee out of fear of Archelaus who was reigning in Judea. This fulfilled what the prophets said that Jesus would be a Nazarene.
8a) Because God told him to and he obeyed. We learned unequivocal obedience is rewarded by God.
b) For two reasons. One, he was afraid of Archelaus who was reigning in Judea after Herod’s death. Two, Joseph was warned again in a dream (presumably by the angel) to not settle there.
9a) Because Micah predicts the king will come from Bethlehem, not Nazareth.
b) It was God’s plan for Jesus to come from the humble so no one would think they were unworthy to be His. It’s helpful to me because I came from a dinky town in the middle of a cornfield. It gives us all hope that we are someone, that we can make a difference no matter where we are from, that we are all special and chosen for God’s plan, and we are loved and saved no matter our background or past indiscretions. We are His just like Jesus.
c) I think humans try to rationalize everything. But in reality love is irrational. And it is love that God acts out of. Think of all the things we do for love that doesn’t make sense: we would sacrifice ourselves for those that love, perhaps the greatest act of love there is. We do stupid things. We put ourselves in harm’s way. We say stupid things. We hurt others for those we love.
If we can compare God’s wisdom to the irrational acts of love, we might get some sense of God’s ways. For they will never make sense to us. The fact God would send His son to die for us doesn’t make sense. Yet it is not for us to make sense of God. Only to have faith in Him. For man uses his mind to place value; God uses His heart.
Conclusions: I groaned at question 9 because we were being sent all over the place.
Yet no matter our background, we are His. If we just remembered that one fact throughout the day, we’d live in peace, joy, and comfort.
Note that Joseph chose to settle in his hometown of Nazareth. It was a small and insignificant place with a bad reputation. But more than that, everyone would know the circumstances of Jesus’s birth since Mary became pregnant before her betroyal.
A BIG challenge this year will be keeping all the predictions of Jesus from the Old Testament straight and THEN sorting each prediction out as it is fulfilled in the New Testament in Jesus’s life.
We have the benefit of a book to help us. Being the average Joe in the first century AD who had to rely on memory, I’m not for sure I would have been able to do it.
Side Notes: Every commentary I read said Nazareth had a “bad” reputation. When I tried to find out why, I found nothing supporting this assertion. All we have to go off of is Nathanael’s comment in Matthew and it can be interpreted many ways. Nathanael was from Cana, a nearby village that might have had a rivalry with Nazareth. Hence, presuming Nazareth had a “bad” reputation is just that: a presumption. In actuality, we have no concrete evidence or writings to support that presumption.
Archelaus is only mentioned this one time in the Bible. He is the son of Herod who survived to succeed him. He ruled Judea, Samaria, and Idumea from 4 BC to 6 AD but was replaced by the Roman government and banished to Gaul (modern day France).
Some scholars think Archelaus is the man in the parable of the pounds found in Luke 19:11-27.