Often, Lord, I grow complacent and reticent. Keep me alert to Your Word and ready to live for You today.
Read Matthew 2:13-23
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psa. 51:10). That’s an appropriate prayer for this time of the year.
Our actions reveal our hearts. How we react when the things we value most are threatened reveals our true selves. The “slaughter of the innocents” was a minor atrocity in the bloody reign of Herod “the Great.” In his later years, he demonstrated a ruthless and murderous paranoia, “defending” himself against perceived threats to his throne by eliminating potential rivals. God’s Son, in his incarnation, entered a world of horrendous violence, a situation only too familiar in much of the world today. Matthew contrasts a king who murders his infant subjects to protect his power with a king who gives himself as a sacrifice for all his subjects. Matthew also intends us to see another contrast and another fulfillment of Scripture. Jesus is the promised prophet, like Moses. Matthew will draw our attention to parallels between the two all through the Gospel. Here we note that both are delivered from infanticide, their lives preserved so that they can fulfill God’s vocation for them. Like Moses, Jesus will bring about an exodus and re-establish Israel.
When he leaves Egypt, Jesus will not return to his birthplace in Bethlehem, as it remains unsafe. Instead, he will go to Galilee, to Nazareth. Matthew prepares us for Jesus’ adult Galilean ministry. This will again be in fulfillment of the Scriptures, but it will also be unexpected because Nazareth did not exist when the prophets wrote. When his time comes, he will appear out of nowhere, not meeting prior expectations. We serve a king whose radically different rule is the only hope for a violent world. His Kingdom is not only different from the ways of the nations, it is also different from the traditional expectations of his people.
Consider ways in which you can be “salt and light” in your world. Pray for God to use you in the growth of his Kingdom.
Father, when I look back over my life, I can see so clearly how You guided me. I look to the future, confident of Your presence and Your guidance.
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