Then one of the teachers of religious law said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:19-20)
Jesus Was Homeless
Located about midway between the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean, Nazareth was a small town in Galilee of no importance. One of the disciples of Jesus, Nathanael, remarked that nothing good came out of Nazareth indicating a view many of Israel had about this southern town of Galilee. In Nazareth, Gabriel appeared to Joseph and Mary to declare the birth of God’s Son. Some months later, near the time of her delivery, Mary joined Joseph for the trip to Bethlehem because of the census required by Caesar Augustus. Arriving in Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to Jesus in a stable because there was no room in the inn. Shortly after that, Joseph secured a house where the family stayed for a few years.
When Jesus was around two years old, wise men came to bring gifts and worship the young boy. After the wise men returned home, an angel of the Lord warned Joseph that Herod would try to kill Jesus. The angel of God told them to flee to Egypt and remain until the word of the Lord came. Joseph took Mary and Jesus to Egypt, where they stayed until the death of Herod. The family wanted to return to Bethlehem but hearing the son of Herod, Archelaus, was reigning over Judea, Joseph returned to Nazareth. The first few years of Jesus’ life were filled with a king trying to kill him, the long trip to Egypt, and growing up in a foreign land. All of this was according to the will of the Father, who spoke of the travels in the prophets. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, raised in Egypt, and grew up in Nazareth. He would become known as Jesus of Nazareth.
Joseph and Mary had other children. Jesus had four half-brothers and at least two half-sisters. As a young man, Jesus grew up in Nazareth following his earthly father’s trade to be a carpenter. His other brothers probably followed a similar trade. Life for Jesus was as placid and peaceful as any other Jewish boy growing up in the Roman Empire. There was a uniqueness about Jesus that was evident to all, but only Joseph and Mary knew the real reason. Sometime in the life of Jesus, it seems clear Joseph died. As the elder son, Jesus would have taken the family’s leadership role.
Luke is the only writer that tells the age of Jesus. The Lord was thirty years of age when He began His ministry. This would be a remarkable change in the life of Jesus. For three decades, He had lived with His earthly family in the relative comfort and security of a home. Jesus had a place to lay His head, a place at the table to eat His meal, and a place in the community. His custom was to go to the synagogue every Sabbath and read from Moses’s scrolls. Everyone in Nazareth knew Jesus. He was one of five sons of a carpenter.
When Jesus began His ministry, He never had a place to call His own. Capernaum would become a central part of His ministry, but the ministry of Jesus took Him from one end of Israel to the other. For nearly three years, Jesus walked, rode, shared a boat, and traveled the length and breadth of Israel. He was known as a man from Nazareth, but His fellow citizens became enraged at His teaching and tried to kill Him. The preaching of Jesus was nonstop. He seldom had time to Himself. Often He would escape to a mountain to talk with His heavenly Father. Traveling by ship was more relaxing for Him as He had a respite from the surging crowds. Jesus had no home, a place to lay His head, a place at a table that was His, and the security of belonging. The pace of His work was frantic, unending, and grueling. Following Jesus was not an easy life.
The purpose of Jesus’ ministry was not to establish a home, and pray men would come to Him. Jesus went out among the people, walked with them, talked with them, healed their sick, comforted them, and took children in His arms to bless them. The animals had dwelling places but not the Creator of the world. Jesus had come to provide a spiritual home, and He had no time for a home of His own. The Son of Man had nowhere to lay His head. Understanding the life of Jesus is to see Him from the viewpoint of a homeless man on a mission. His sacrifice was not just at the cross. The ministry of Jesus was a sacrifice. A homeless man died for all men to give them a home with His Father.