Sunday 27 December
Matthew 2: 11-23
The Magi Visit the Messiah11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
The Escape to Egypt13 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.”
14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
18 “A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”
The Return to Nazareth19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”
21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.
I hope you have all had a great Christmas this year, despite the Covid – 19 restrictions. I was sharing with folks on Christmas Day that the Baby Jesus is our gift from God and wondering how that truth impacts on us?
Today we look at the escape to Egypt that follows the visit of the Magi to Herod and the baby Jesus.
Not only did God warn The Magi, to return home another way, by-passing Herod’s Palace, God also warned Joseph in a dream to take his wife and child to Egypt. Can you imagine if Joseph didn’t listen, we don’t know how good Joseph was at listening for God’s voice? I know, however, that God can always get his message across, after all he got through to me!
So, we can work out that the Magi were protected from the potential wrath of Herod and we can read that Mary, Joseph and Jesus escaped to Egypt where they lived until it was safe for God to call them back home again. One of the biggest challenges faced by refugees today is the ability to provide for themselves. The State for example may not allow refugees to seek paid work. Joseph may have been able to work to provide for his family, we don’t know! What we do know is that the gifts from the Magi were incredibly valuable. God’s provision for what his children need is beyond our wildest imagination.
Finance may not have been on the minds of Mary and Joseph but what about the rest of their circumstance? What would they think of their baby now? Born of God, delivered in unbelievably poor circumstances, heralded by a star and angels that guided shepherds and Kings to visit them. Then advised to flee to Egypt. I can’t imagine that they would not have heard what Herod was up to from other refugees trying to save their sons from his wrath.
With all that was happening what was on their minds? What was going to happen next? Would they see their son grow up to be all he was meant to be?
I know I had thoughts when I was watching my daughters grow up as to how their lives would turn out. I never saw what I know now and yet I still wonder how the next phase of their lives will turn out.
What about this miracle baby and how he impacts our lives? Have you ever given any thought to how your lives would have turned out without Jesus? To what extent would medieval Britain have changed without missionaries coming to spread the good news? My mind can’t fathom that, but I can see that without Jesus, we wouldn’t be in church this morning. There would be no Church and that was where Education and medicine originated. The law of the land would be radically different as it is to a large extent that Church Law has shaped Scottish Law.
We are what we are and have the opportunity to become all we can be because of the birth of Jesus and Gods absolute provision to see his plan come to provision.
A couple of weeks ago I played a song called “Mary did you know” which asked the questions of Mary – did she know what her son had to go through. This week I am going to play you a song called Joseph’s lullaby which looks at the sort of things that could have gone through Joseph’s head and heart as he pondered his son’s life. You can find them both on YouTube. As you play them perhaps you might care to ponder on just how much God has done to provide us with the life choices and opportunities we enjoy today. As we do, as we ponder the weakness of the baby and see the strength of the Lord on the cross, may we realise that, in God, we know His plan will succeed. God bless and keep you. Merry Christmas.