Luke 2: 1-5
“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register. 4 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. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.”
Bethlehem was the burial place of Rachael, Jacob’s wife; the original home of Naomi (of the book of Ruth); and the ancestral home of David. David, as King of Israel, never lost his love for Bethlehem, and he longed for a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem (2 Samuel 23: 14-17).
So, Joseph traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem, his place of birth, with Mary and Jesus, who was yet to be born, so that they could be counted by the Romans. Under Roman law they were compelled to go.
But God used the law for His good purposes.
A ninety mile journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem; a man and a woman and an unborn child...became the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy:
“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” (Micah 5:2)
May the love of Christ be with you,
Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)