Mary and Joseph were living in Nazareth but their family home was considered Bethlehem as Joseph was a descendant of David and Bethlehem was David’s home town. Mary was also a descendant of David but the male line was the one recognized by Jewish law. Luke 2:1-5 records the circumstances leading up to Jesus’ birth and tells us why Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem. “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
This would have been a significant journey for Joseph and Mary. The physical distance is about 80 miles and would have taken about a week. The journey was not without risks as they traveled through hostile Samaria so the comfort of inns would have been doubtful for this Jewish couple. Joseph would have been walking and Mary riding a donkey. Being heavy with child, this would have been a difficult and uncomfortable trip for both of them.
When have you done something for the Lord that caused you discomfort or pain? Mary and Joseph did not cause this journey to happen, the government ordered it. The Lord orchestrated it to fulfill prophesy that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old from ancient times.” In all the discomfort of the journey God protected them from hazards along the way and prepared an out of the way place for Jesus to be brought into the world. Paul described his suffering for Christ’s sake in 1 Corinthians 4:11-12 “To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands.When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it;”
How is Christ calling you to suffer today? Are you physically tired, emotionally drained or spiritually depleted? Call on Him today and He will restore and provide for you physically, emotionally and spiritually in ways you may have never imagined. Mary and Joseph trusted God to provide and give them the strength they needed to reach their destination and deliver a healthy baby. They did not lose their resolve or complain about how hard it was. Paul showed us the same endurance for the Lord in his ministry journeys all over Asian Minor. Journey today in trust as Mary. Joseph and Paul did so many years ago. Glorify God in doing His work, His way with faith, trust and assurance of victory.
Life is a journey depending upon God and trusting in His provision,