So remember how we were just talking about prophecy? Well, dang-it-all-if we don’t start off the next chapter of Josh’s story with another full-on prediction that had been told by another prophet.
Want to see that mind-blowing prophecy? Go ahead and take a read here!
You see Josh was born in Bethlehem. And it wasn’t like his mother and father could have prearranged this just to fulfill a prophecy. When Mary became pregnant, they had NO CLUE they were going to end up in Bethlehem. But the stars aligned (oh, BTW, quite literally), and the government chose that for them.
Here’s how Luke told it to us:
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. 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. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born.
But there’s more to the story. You see a few priestly men from far away also knew of this prophecy. (Which in itself is pretty cool, because they weren’t even of the Jewish faith.) And, yet, they followed a star across the lands (Dude we’re talking from Persia to Bethlehem which was over a thousand miles… on camel!)
So, yeah, it was a BIG DEAL to them.
The first person they visited was the ruling, hometown king. Makes sense, right? I mean if a prophesized king was about to be born, you’d probably visit the ruling king to check up on the big event.
But Matt tells us that the king was disturbed. And so were all the townsfolk.
No doubt.. the king had issues.
Maybe he’d been bullied as a child. Maybe his undergarments were cinched up a little too tight. Most definitely he felt threatened. As a matter of fact, he tried to trick the priests into telling him where the baby was. (which is super-ludicrous, because if he knew his own religious scripture, he could have figured it out himself!) He claimed he wanted to worship this royal babe. But in truth? He had some devious plans in mind for this little king.
But the priests from Persia were warned of this in a dream, and so after visiting Josh, they bolted.
Which totally ticked off the king and he did a horrible, horrible thing….
He had every child in Bethlehem under two years old killed.
Let that sink in. Cuz’ its a big deal. And it sucks. (Here’s a historical write-up on the evils of King Herod and the slaughter of the innocents.)
By they way… King Herod’s atrocities.. another prophecy. NOT because God wanted it to happen, simply because God KNEW it would happen. Read the prophecy here.
Whew! This story is really ramping up! (and we haven’t even met Josh yet.)
Yeah. He’s a big deal… Keep reading. You’ll want to know why!!
And here’s today’s corresponding text in the Gospel of Matthew.