December 21, 2017

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13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.’ (Matthew 2:13 NIV)

The Magi (wise men) have gone. Joseph, Mary and Jesus try to get some sleep as their home in Bethlehem has had to welcome these Magi and their contingent. Suddenly in the middle of the night, Joseph wakes up sweating. An angel from God speaks to him in a dream. “Get up, take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you to return. Herod is looking for the child. Herod wants to kill him”.

We don’t often talk about this aspect of the Christmas story. The life of the baby Jesus is threatened. Herod wants to kill him. God protects Jesus through speaking to Joseph. Initially, Joseph did not want to have anything to do with the pregnant Mary. Now he is involved even to the extent that he is going to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt.

Joseph, Mary and Jesus will be refugees in Egypt. This is the Egypt who enslaved the people of Israel 1500 years earlier. This is the Egypt who has a religious culture totally strange to the Jewish religion. Yet, God sends this family to Egypt for protection from Herod. Jesus is born in Israel but spends the first part of his life as an infant in Egypt.

I wonder if this life in Egypt is a template for Jesus’ future life. If Jesus is God and he has come to earth as a human being, then he is living in a strange land. God as Jesus is living in exile. Why is he living in exile? His name is Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).

Pastor Pye