The Gospel of Matthew, Part 4

Fr. John offers the next class in the series, focusing on the Holy Family’s return from exile in Egypt to Nazareth.

STUDY GUIDE

The Gospel of Matthew

2:19-23 Return to Nazareth

Opening thoughts and basis for discussion

The historical background of the Return to Nazareth helps us understand why God warned Joseph in a dream to withdraw from Israel and go to Galilee.  Although Herod was dead, he left his territory divided among his sons.

The one who reigned in Judaea was Archelaus, who was a ruthless king.  This is the reason why Joseph withdrew to Galilee.  For the son who ruled there, Herod Antipas, was a much better king.

It was in Nazareth that Joseph settled, and it was in Nazareth that Jesus was brought up.  Nazareth was not a small town; on the contrary it was a vibrant city, which tied the Western and Eastern trade routes, where many travelers over land and sea would pass by.  Therefore, Jesus was exposed to many different kinds of people through his childhood.

The years between childhood and a man of thirty

Jesus is the great example of one who accepted the simple duties of the home.

  1. Jesus was fulfilling the duties of an eldest son.  He became the village craftsman of Nazareth to support his mother and family.
  2. Jesus was learning what it was like to be a working man.
    1. Learning what it was like to:
      1. Earn a living
      2. Save to buy food and clothing
      3. To meet dissatisfied and the critical customer
      4. The customer who does not pay debts

We can derive from this that if Christ was to help man and save us, he must know what our lives were like.  He worked in Nazareth all these years so that he can know what our lives are like so that he may be able to help.

Conclusion

The one point that can be derived from this pricope is that Christ became one of us, lived among us, and by doing so, learned who we are so that he can take us back to his creation, that image and likeness that was perfected in Jesus.

This is the fourth class in a series. You can enjoy additional classes here.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 5

Part 6

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Father John was born in Southampton N.Y. He served as…
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