Where is your hometown? Where did you get married? Where did you put down roots before you expanded your family?
Joseph and Mary’s hometown was in a small village called Nazareth. This is where their friends and family lived, this is likely where their wedding ceremony was held, and the same streets they grew up in, this is where they planned to raise their future family also.
But the king ordered a census to be taken, so Mary and Joseph packed their bags and headed to their designated location to be taxed—Bethlehem. This trip was only meant to be short-term; it would last for mere days, and they’d be back home in no time.
However, when they arrived, Jesus made His grand entrance, and if we really thought more about it, it wouldn’t take long to realize the timing of His birth was planned down to the very detail.
For one thing, Mary and Joseph had no other reason to leave their hometown—especially being 9 months pregnant. If they had the travel bug, riding on a donkey through the Judean mountains would certainly not have been their top choice. And if it really was their dream to journey around to surrounding towns, the climb could’ve certainly waited until after their baby was born and Mary was physically more able to make the trek.
However, when the king gives orders, people must obey. So off they went—80 miles out into the elements.
Shortly after, a killing spree instigated by King Herod (specifically with Jesus as the moving target) forced this new family to extend their little trip to a more permanent move. They fled to Egypt and remained for what must have been years until the coast was clear.
This all fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies around the Messiah’s birth. And no human—not Mary, Joseph, or even the king—could have conspired together and forced any of these details to happen exactly as the text predicted. Only God. Only the Writer of our days, the Narrator of our salvation story, the Sustainer and Commander of this world.
If you’re doubting God has a handle on the plotline of your life, may today’s truth correct your perspective. He moved every single detail into place to fulfill these prophecies, so certainly, He will move every single piece of your life into order for His purposes to come to pass. We can trust what He has to say—our God is forever faithful.
- Mary and Joseph had a plan to stay in Nazareth until the king called them to Bethlehem. How can you remain flexible in your life if God also calls you elsewhere?
- Do you trust God with the details of your life? May this be our prayer: “Thank you, Father, that you had Jesus’ birth planned long ago. Thank you for showing me through your Word how you can make anything happen, and your timing is precise. Help me to trust in your plan and control when I’m impatient or struggling today.”
A Ruler from Bethlehem
2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
are only a small village among all the people of Judah.
Yet a ruler of Israel,
whose origins are in the distant past,
will come from you on my behalf.
Visitors from the East
1 Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”
3 King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. 4 He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”
5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:
6 ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah,
are not least among the ruling cities of Judah,
for a ruler will come from you
who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”
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