Bible Reading: Luke 2:1-5
Imagine you are 8 or 9 months pregnant, are you really up for a long road trip to Bethlehem, much less on a donkey? Be thankful…if not for that donkey, I’d guess you’d be walking.
Although Joseph lived in Nazareth, he was born in Bethlehem. There was a census & people had to pay their taxes. Coincidence. I don’t think so. God was intervening.
So in order to fulfill all the prophecies, God used the census to get Joseph (& Mary) to Bethlehem, where Jesus would be born. Let’s look at one of these prophecies, that the people knew well:
“Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” ~ John 7:42, NIV
If you read Matthew 1:1-17 you will see Joseph’s genealogy. It shows that Joseph is a Son of David. Therefore, Jesus would also be considered part of this lineage. Tradition holds, that the genealogy listed in Luke 3:23-38 is that of Mary – also from the lineage of David. For further discussion on this topic see: Bible.org’s – Is Mary’s lineage in one of the Gospels?.
King David was born in Bethlehem, it would only be right that the rightful Son of David also be born in Bethlehem…so no questions could come up later.
This census forced Joseph to travel, not just to the next town, but 98 miles. That doesn’t seem like much. Today, you can travel from Nazareth on paved roads, by car in just under 2 hours (1 hour & 55 minutes).
According to that same travel map, on foot / walking that same route would take 32 hours. My feet ache just at the thought of it! For me, that 32 hours of travel is at least a 4 day trip – if I’m lucky – no blisters, no thigh rashes, no heat exhaustion, fainting for general causes….and I’m not pregnant!
Can you imagine?! I don’t think I’d be portrayed as a demure, wholesome, nice, patient girl. The exact opposite – I’d be cranky, whiny, moaning, bitter, anxious, frustrated, exhausted, & an uncomfortable meanie. Although – hold on – I’m supposed to be still be engaged/pledged to Joseph. Well then, I’m probably watching my Ps & Qs, trying not to grumble too much, since I really don’t know this guy too well yet. Well that’s me – not Mary. She knew she was about the Lord’s work, and I’m sure she remained God’s humble & obedient servant.
Joseph left Galilee, where Nazareth is located, and went into Judea, where Bethlehem resides. This Judean area was ruled by Herod, who was called King of Judea. This Herod is a descendant of Esau, not from the line of David. This King of Judea is actually empowered by Rome. He has no real power. Herod had to report to Rome. All this helps explain how the following prophecy is fulfilled (I added – the Messiah) by the coming of Jesus to Bethlehem in Judea:
“The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he (the Messiah) to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.” ~ Genesis 49:10, NIV
We know that throughout the Bible, the donkey is known as a sign of royalty. We see Jesus riding a donkey into Jerusalem, which we celebrate as Palm Sunday. Even Babylonian archives, shows that riding a donkey into a city is a sign of kingship. These sure-footed, smart, protective beasts have a bad rap today, but are known to be some of the most loyal animals. It’s only appropriate that the coming King of the Jews, the Messiah, the King of Kings, would arrive to his birthplace on a donkey.
Ornament Ideas: Donkey
Coloring / Art Ideas:
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