19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”
21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene. Matthew 2:19-23
Joseph received two more dreams that gave him clear direction. The family ended up in Nazareth, which is where Jesus would have grown up. At this point in the story, Jesus would have been at least a couple of years old.
After a whirlwind adventure that took them from Nazareth to Bethlehem down to Egypt and back to Nazareth, they were now very changed people than when they first left Nazareth. Wise men from the East had visited, smelly shepherds had visited, the first crib for the baby boy was a cow’s trough, and they had escaped the clutches of and infanticidal ruler (and quite possibly his son). And all this because of their toddler, Jesus.
So it is with this scenario we find Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. What more can be said about the birth and travels of the boy Jesus in the first years of his life?
- Wise men still fall on their faces before Him.
- Smelly people still seek him out.
- People who are persecuted for their belief in Him still do not have a place to lay their heads at night.
- Many run for their lives because of homicidal rulers who want to see His people destroyed.
Not much has changed.