Christmas – Getting them to Bethlehem!
Powerpoint Pictures: Map of Nazareth to Bethlehem
Where was Mary living when she found out she was pregnant? [Nazareth].
Where was her baby to be born? [Bethlehem].
The distance between Nazareth and Bethlehem is 120 miles. The big question is, why on earth did Mary travelled all those many miles when she was pregnant?
The Bible gives us 2 answers.
The first answer, Luke tells us is that: “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman World.” (Luke 2:1).
Can anyone tell me what a census is? Basically it’s when a leader or ruler finds out information about the people living in their country or empire. In this case Caesar Augustus wanted to find out about people in the Roman Empire.
Today a census will be taking place, here in this very room. Now I’m going to ask some questions, and you need to stand up when the answer you would give to it is called out:
- Age: Under 20 / Under 50 / Over 50.
- Pets: Dog / Cats / Small Pet like Guinea Pig or Hamster / No pet.
- Football Team: Chelsea / Man Utd / Crystal Palace / Don’t like football.
- Make up other categories to ask.
Caesar’s census was to find out who should be paying taxes. Everyone had to go to the place that their family was from.
“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth…to Bethlehem. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.” (Luke 2:4-5).
Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, so went with him to Bethlehem, the place that he was from. That’s the first answer to why Mary ended up travelling 120 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
But there is also a second answer, behind this one. The prophet Micah in the Old Testament, many years before Jesus was born wrote: “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.” (Micah 5:2).
It was God’s plan, that His Son, the one that Mary was pregnant with, would be born in Bethlehem, and He would make sure that it would happen. So God made sure that Caesar conducted this census at just the right time, as the means of fulfilling this plan.
So Mary travelled 120 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem to register for Caesar’s census, because God was keeping His promise that Jesus would be born there.
(Photo: © Nevit Dilmen)