Where Jesus Grew Up
“But when he (Joseph) heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod…he withdrew to the district of Galilee. And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.”
Matthew 2:22-23 (ESV)
The early childhood of Jesus was a traumatic time.
Revelation 12:4 tells us that Satan was intent on destroying him: “And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it.” Was Herod part of this strategy when he ordered his infamous slaughter of the innocents? Joseph and Mary took their precious baby boy and fled to Egypt. Later, when it seemed safe, Joseph planned to go back to Judaea, perhaps to Bethlehem, but when he realized that Herod’s son, Archelaus, now reigned there, he feared for Jesus’ life once again. Therefore, he decided to set up his carpentry business in Nazareth in Galilee, which was not under Archelaus’ jurisdiction.
Biblical scholars have often wondered where exactly in Nazareth Joseph and his family lived. Would it be possible to locate the house? There is a tradition from the seventh century that the house was located at that time underneath a specific church, and recent archaeological research has taken place at that very location. The archaeologists did find a house dating back to the time of Jesus. There is no sure way of knowing that this is where Jesus grew up, but it is an interesting speculation. It’s not the first time that researchers have tried to discover the home of Jesus’ family.
What we do know is that Jesus grew up in Nazareth away from harm’s reach. We sometimes forget this period in Jesus’ life. Luke records, “And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favour of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40).
Glorious Father, thank you that your Son, Jesus, became one of us, thus understanding the fullness and the scope of our humanity, and living among us that we may be saved by and through his life. In Jesus’ name.
Study by James Henderson
About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.