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8: Family Travels

May 14, 2009

Major Texts:

Matt. 2:19-23
Luke 2:40-52

Key Verse:

Luke 2:49


  1. The Family Returns to Nazareth              Matt. 2:19-23; Luke 2:40
  2. The Family Visits Jerusalem                    Luke 2:41-44
  3. The Family Revisits Jerusalem                 Luke 2:45-50
  4. The Family Returns to Nazareth              Luke 2:51-52


Hindsight tells me I should have included either the previous texts concerning their flight to Egypt in this lesson or, perhaps included the return to Nazareth in the previous lesson.  It really depends on one’s emphasis.  In the previous lesson the emphasis was events associated with the visit of the Magi.  This lesson will focus on the family’s travels during the early years of Jesus’ life.

Therefore, we find there are two different objectives for their travels.  One is to avoid evil and the other is for worship.  The first is defensive in nature and the second is offensive in nature. The first is reactive and the second is proactive and habitual.  The first may be required of us and the second is mandatory.  Both were required of Mary and Joseph even though Jesus was special, protected, all-powerful, and all knowing.  He was a child prodigy humanly speaking and yet He needed to be parented as a normal child.

Joseph returns the family to Israel after hearing of Herod’s death.  He returns to Nazareth instead of Bethlehem to avoid any potential danger.  In other words, he is playing it safe.  He is making wise decisions for the sake of his family.

The family makes it a habit to go to Jerusalem once a year to worship and celebrate the Passover.  It evidently was a family affair including the extended family and so Jesus was not missed until they stopped to rest the first night.  Mary and Joseph return and find Jesus in the Temple discussing the Scriptures with the Rabbis, astounding them with His understanding.  This incident has no bearing or influence with them when He begins His own ministry 18 years later.  Now He is an innocent child.  Later He is competing with them for followers and they resent the fact that He is more knowledgeable than they.

In spite of His position and His purpose, Jesus submits to His parents will, honoring them according to the fifth commandment.


  1. Seek God and listen to Him when having to make critical decisions concerning your family. Set aside your own will in preference to His will. It will always be better in the end.
  2. Do not resist any move that removes you from evil.
  3. Live in such a way that worship is habitual. Develop other good consistent habits.
  4. Take the opportunity to do things as a family. Include your extended family and close friends. Their influence on your family will be positive.
  5. One is never too young to serve God. One is never too young, too old, too powerful, or too influential to learn about God.
  6. Honor your parents and thereby grow in wisdom.

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