Journey for Mary and Joseph
Advent Day 12
Luke 2:1-5 ESV
John 15:5 ESV
Hebrew 4:12-13 ESV
Micah 5:2 ESV
Being an ol’ newspaper reporter who majored in Communication in college makes me wonder how they got word out that everyone needed to go register. The scripture in Luke 2 actually gives us a lot of information.
Luke 2:1-5 tells us, “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 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, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.”
Caesar Augustus was in power of the Roman Empire and ‘the world’ referred to everything in Roman territory. Roman rule spanned from England to Africa and from Syria to Spain. At that time it included one out of every four people on earth. It was a significant Empire.
(https://www.pbs.org/empires/romans/empire/#:~:text=Roman Empire in the first,and died under Roman law.)
The Roman Empire would have needed to establish a way to count everyone in every region so they could collect taxes and that would not have been an easy task. We know from this section of scripture that this was the first registration of people under Quirinius.
Quirinius was Governor of Syria.
As part of the decree everyone was ordered to go to their own town of their family of origin. The Hebrew people would have been ordered to register according to their tribe of Israel. The system established by God in ancient Israel actually made it pretty easy for the Romans to “track” the Hebrew people.
Joseph and Mary lived in the region of Galilee.
Their home was in Nazareth.
Mary and Joseph had to be counted by going to Judea which was the region.
Because Joseph was from the tribe of Judah the couple had to travel to Bethlehem (in Judea) which was around 90 miles from Nazareth. It would have been a long and dangerous journey because of thieves and wild animals (https://www.artzabox.com/a/answers/traveling/traveling/-in-Israel-distance-from-Nazareth-to-Bethlehem.)
That would have been quite a trek for anyone, but it was extremely difficult in this case because Mary was nearing the end of her pregnancy. Even with good terrain with a path today the journey probably would have taken over 40 hours over several days for Mary. Contrary to pictures we’ve seen it isn’t likely Mary rode on a donkey. If the couple had a donkey it would have carried the supplies they needed for the journey.
The terrain would have been rough and rocky.
While this map is only a representation of a possible route, it gives us some idea of the terrain.
It’s no wonder that Mary went into labor. But, God did have a very special plan for Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem.
In John 15:5 we know that God’s plan includes a connection to God the source. During His time on earth Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.“
Mary and Joseph were chosen specifically to raise Jesus. They were inner-connected to God the source. God knew who they were inside and out.
We also know from scripture that nothing is hidden from God. Hebrews 4:12-13 tells us, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
When God chose Mary and Joseph it was part of God’s plan that they would travel to Bethlehem and the child would be born there. We remember that in Micah 5:2 the prophet wrote:
“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.”
Though the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem was difficult, God was with them each step of the way. They were never hidden from God’s sight.
And so it is with us.
God chooses us.
When we respond and turn to God we are never hidden from God’s sight.
Spiritual Practice: Choose God
Tell God you choose to rely on Him. Let God shine a light on You.
In God, Deborah