Q. Thank you so much for answering our questions. I am having trouble trying to put the sequence of events at the time of Jesus birth and infancy into chronological order. Luke 2:22-40 states that after they had gone to Jerusalem and done everything required by the Law (Lev.12:1-4) they returned to Nazareth. Yet everyone seems to have the wise men visiting them in Bethlehem. After the wise men left Herod, did the star lead them to Nazareth (Matt.2:9)?
A. It helps to understand that the Gospels were not written as historical accounts, but each of the four was aimed at a specific audience and had a specific intent.
Matthew was written to Jews to show them that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, the King of Israel. There’s more reference to fulfilled Messianic prophecy in Matthew than any other Gospel.
Mark was written to the Romans, portraying Jesus as the obedient servant of God.
Luke was for the Greeks and emphasized the Lord’s humanity.
And John was directed at the Church, showcasing His Deity.
Because of this, each Gospel is a little different from the others. Luke omitted references to everything from the Lord’s eighth day of life to His 12th year as being irrelevant to his portrayal of Jesus as the Son of Man.
After the wise men visited the baby Jesus in Bethlehem, an angel warned Joseph to take the child to Egypt because Herod was going to try and kill Him. Using the money given them by the Magi, Joseph took Mary and the baby to Egypt, remaining there until Herod died. Then they returned to Nazareth.
Some estimate that up to two years might have passed between their departure from Nazareth just before the Lord’s birth and their return.