<< Luke II: 40 The Home in Nazareth >>
THE verses that we last read told how Joseph and Mary and the Holy Child came back from Egypt after the death of Herod. But Herod's son was a bad king like his father. They must not stay in Bethlehem but go again to Nazareth, where Joseph and Mary had lived before they went to Bethlehem to be enrolled.
Nazareth is far away to the north among the hills of Galilee. To reach the town we climb up a steep, rocky path from the great plain of Esdraelon, and find ourselves in a little upland meadow, with hills all around, which shut us off from the world. The stone houses which make the little town, stand on a sunny hill-side at the upper end of the meadow, shaded by orchard trees. Outside the town is the fountain where the water of a spring is poured out upon a pavement. Here the travellers stop to drink, and all the people of the village come to wash their wool and to fill their jars to carry on their heads back to their homes. Here Mary, and the Lord Himself, must often have come for water.
Let us climb the high hill above the town. Now we look down on the flat roofs and domes, and the little meadow lying before the town. We see white lines leading over the hills in several directions. They are the paths which lead out from Nazareth. Some of them are worn deep into the soft, rock, where the people have walked for so many, many years. We see the great plain of E sdraelon to the south and the mountains of Samaria beyond. Eastward, beyond Mount Tabor, are the purple hills across the Jordan; westward is the blue Mediterranean, so near that we see the white surf rolling on the beach; in the north we look over hills upon hills to the snowy Hermon far away. All this the Lord must often have seen while Nazareth was His home.
Coming down from the hill we pass through the narrow streets of the town and see the little houses where the people live. We pass work-shops of smiths and shoemakers and carpenters. Here a carpenter sits on the floor of his shop preparing work for his boys to finish. We remember that Joseph worked at this trade, and that the Lord Himself was known as "the carpenter." We must think also of the synagogue which was the Jews' church, where the people met on the Sabbath to hear the Scriptures, and to worship. How much more the Divine words of Scripture meant to the Lord, than to others who heard them!
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.—Luke II. 40.
Author: William L. Worcester 1904
In Nazareth, which seems to mean Seclusion, the next long period of the Lord's life was passed. It was the period in which He was learning to live the Divine life according to the truth of the Word. He did not come forth until the natural self had so far given place to the Divine, that whatever He did and said was from the love of the Father for saving men, and was a revelation of that love. And this represents the long period of instruction in spiritual truth, which is necessary to introduce the spiritual life. (Author: John Worchester, 1898. Matthew's Gospel.)
Pictures: James Tissot ----Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum