So often we talk about Jesus being ‘humbled’ and take it for granted or don’t really know what it means. Reading through Matthew again over the last few weeks, have you noticed the significance of Jesus’ humble beginnings?
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.
Reading through the story of Jesus’ birth over the last few weeks, I’ve been struck anew by the significance of the humble beginnings of Jesus. Perhaps you have too – realising and understanding the weight of the start of our Hero’s journey.
That Jesus, the hero of the story, the sovereign king who had every right to dominion and power and rulership and riches and glory would instead be born in such a seemingly insignificant way: In a stable, surrounded by animals, celebrated by lowly shepherds. That’s not really the start of a great heroic story, is it?
And now in this passage we read that Jesus’ family returned from Egypt not to Bethlehem the city of David, but to Nazareth in the district of Galilee. Our Hero is confirmed as the promised King with one of many fulfilments of prophecy from the Old Testament (see v23).
But, Nazareth? A little, insignificant agricultural town. Not quite the palace or great country or land worthy of a king’s home. And even more, being labelled a Nazarene meant being despised, rejected and treated with contempt by others.
Yet again, there’s this unexpected twist in the beginning of our Hero’s story. Surely the hero should be lauded as he begins his journey! Surely he should be admired and celebrated, not despised and rejected?
Throughout this humble beginning to our Hero’s story, God has been showing that his plan is not just for the salvation of Jews, but for all people! Jesus walked the humble path of the outcast and the despised, to show us that he has come for the broken and the outcast and the lost, to bring them hope and salvation!
Here we get the first hint of the Hero’s cause – the reason for his journey. And we’ll see more of this unfold in the next few weeks. Get excited for that! But for now, what an amazing start to our Saviour, King and Hero’s story, where God has shown his plan for the salvation of the whole world through humble beginnings of our hero, Jesus.
Head: Go back and re-read Matthew up to this point. What are some of the other things that have happened so far in the story of Jesus that show his humble beginning? How would the story of Jesus have changed if he’d come with great power and glory and riches?
Heart: What does it look like for us to be humbled before God, allowing our life stories to be a part of his greater story of salvation given to us through Jesus?
Hands: We have been given the privilege to share the amazing story of Jesus from humble beginnings through to victorious defeat of sin and death. Write down how you would share this amazing story and its significance for us with someone who isn’t a Christian.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you that you are in control of our stories. Thank you that through the ultimate story of Jesus’ journey to the cross, you have shown us just how deep your love and grace for us goes. Help us to be struck anew by the significance of the Gospel and how far you went to save us from our sinfulness. We praise you that you, our King, humbled yourself to nothing so that we might be reconciled to you and given new life through Your Son. Amen.
A song to listen to: The One Who Made Us One
This Grow Daily was originally posted as part of a previous series in Matthew in 2017. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the best of Grow Dailys over the years.