It is a delight to be allowed to speak in a Christmas devotion about Archelaus. It made me smile when his name came up.
Archelaus is part of a deeply held belief of mine about the Bible.
You will find three verses that talk about where Jesus will be born. Or better to say, where Jesus will come from.
Hosea 11:1b (King James Version) …out of Egypt I called my son.
Micah 5:2a (King James Version)But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel.
Matthew 2:22, 23 (King James Version) But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee. And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
The third one, Matthew 2:22, 23 is the verse about Archelaus. Joseph feared him and did not want his family near him. Instead of settling his family in Bethlehem, he chose to settle in Nazareth.
I use these verses a lot when someone tells me the Bible got something wrong. Have you heard the lists? Jesus is wrong on ……….. And there’s a list. I’ve had people say, “I can’t take the Bible as the literal word of God because of….Add in whatever the problem is.
And my response is, ‘the Bible told us Jesus was from Bethlehem, Egypt and Nazareth. Anyone who read those verses—before Jesus was born—would say the Bible is WRONG. It has to be wrong because Jesus can’t be from THREE places.’
But the reason for that is easy to see now. Simple. Jesus moved. Wow, it’s so obvious now. The prophets had a deeper knowledge of Jesus’ life than anyone could imagine.
And when someone says the Bible is wrong I say, “Look to your own understanding.” The Bible is not wrong.
1 Corinthians 13:12 (King James Version) For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Archelaus, with that one tiny mention in the Bible, in the midst of Jesus childhood, becomes a lesson that has helped me through Bible studies. It’s helped me give greater respect to the limits of my own understanding.
Discuss: The Bible’s infallibility. Places in the Bible that seem to contradict each other and how we can search for understanding. Talk about kind ways we can encourage people who reject portions of the Bible…or reject the whole Bible because of portions of it they don’t understand.
Pray: Dear Jesus, in this Holy Season when I celebrate the sacred beginning of the greatest story ever told, Your birth, Your life, Your death and resurrection, Your saving grace…grant me a deeper understanding of Your Word. Bless and nurture my mind to be open to Your leading when I read the Bible, and forgive me when I fail. And please give me an open heart for those who find stumbling blocks in scripture. Give me wisdom that can lead me…and with your help lead others…to a full faith in You.
Thank you, Dear God in Heaven, my Savior Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit, in this blessed Christmas season, for surrounding me Your love. In Jesus Holy Name, Amen