Journeying through the Christmas Story – Day 20

December 20

Matthew 2:13-23

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.”

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.”

19 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.

The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®

Devotional – Sam Scarpino (Youth Leader/Connect Group Studies Writer)

Imagine this, you’ve just witnessed one of the most spectacular feats of the human body, the birth of your own child. People have come to give theircongratulations and gifts. Soon after they’ve left you’re alone with your newborn and one tired mumma and an angel of the Lord says, “pack your things, get the donkey, you and your family need to leave right now”.

The obedience of Joseph that we see in Matthew 2:13-24 is incredible. Joseph, engaged to Mary who was pregnant (something that was more than frowned upon in those days), is told to take his family from Bethlehem to Egypt shortly after Jesus birth. This journey would have been approximately 146km from Bethlehem to the Egyptian border, the equivalent of Melbourne to Lorne, travelling in the Middle Eastern sun with a newborn baby Jesus and his mother.

Due to the wise men’s recognition of Jesus as a new king, the troubled Herod decreed that all baby boys 2 years old and under would be put to death. Joseph’s disobedience would’ve resulted in Jesus not fulfilling his purpose here on Earth. Joseph, Mary and Jesus stayed in Egypt away from Herod protected by the fact that Herod had no jurisdiction in Egypt. Once Herod had passed away the angel reappeared to Joseph telling him to take his family back to Nazareth.

Joseph often is overlooked when we examine the story of Jesus’ birth yet without Joseph’s faith and obedience the salvation plan for Jesus may not have occurred.