Blessed God, You chose the weak things of the world to confound the mighty. It is enough that You are for me, with me, and within me.
Read Matthew 2:13-18
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). How rich we are, indeed.
Centuries before Christ, God’s people, facing starvation and extinction, were guided as refugees to Egypt by God. There they found salvation largely because of the first Joseph. Now the second Joseph, facing death and led by God, flees to Egypt with Mary and her newborn son as refugees. We learn little of their time in Egypt; Matthew is more interested in their return (19-23), but more on that tomorrow.
Again, we honor Joseph, so sensitive to the care of his family, so responsive to the voice of his God. Joseph probably sensed danger from Herod, as well he might (since Herod was hostile to anyone who might possibly displace him), and Egypt would be a natural place to go to be safe and be among his compatriots. Historians indicate that the Jewish colony in Alexandria at that time numbered more than a million. Joseph’s hunch was confirmed by a clear word from an angel, the Lord’s messenger (13), and they left for Egypt (14).
Subsequent events show the over-ruling hand of God in preserving his Son. As Herod’s power increased, so did his paranoia. He thought nothing of killing anyone suspected of trying to remove him from power, including members of his own family. He would not bat an eyelid at slaughtering babies in case one of them could be regarded as a royal pretender (16). Jesus was born with a price on his head and the shadow of the cross falls over the story from this point on.
Matthew reminds us that we see in Jesus, even when things are their darkest, the fulfillment of Scripture. As N. T. Wright says it so clearly, “No point arriving in comfort, when the world is in misery: no point having an easy life when the world suffers violence and injustice. If he is to be Emmanuel, God-with-us, he must be where the pain is.”
So, today, we rejoice in the birth of this true king of the Jews, the bearer of God’s salvation and personal presence.
In this past year, what ways have you seen that Jesus is your Emmanuel, God with you? Celebrate the day!
Father God, I give You thanks for the babe born in violence and travail, the One who can give me true peace. Lord Jesus, make all things new.