Alright Ladies, we are entering our fourth part of this series on Advent. Today’s narrative will be based on Matthew 2:13-19. I encourage you to grab a Bible and follow along with the actual text as we try to see this unfolding scene through the eyes of those present.
After the magi and their caravans had left your dwelling in Bethlehem, you and Joseph spoke about the incredible visitors and their testimonies of the unique star. How extraordinary to think that these prestigious men had followed that same star for all those months—in hopes of meeting the newborn King of the Jews—Jesus the Christ. After dinner, two-year-old Jesus was put to bed and evening chores were attended to. All seemed wonderfully tranquil. All appeared perfectly calm. As you closed your eyes and thanked the Lord for the wonderful day, you snuggled your Son a little closer as you drifted off.
“Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.” Matthew 2:13 (NASB)
Suddenly, in the dark of night, Joseph awakens you. Although you cannot see him well in your dark dwelling, his voice reveals eminent danger. “Mary. You must get up quickly. You must stay quiet and keep Jesus quiet. An angel has appeared to me and said that we are to leave for Egypt at once. The angel also said that we are to remain in Egypt until we receive further instruction. King Herod is trying to kill Jesus.”
At hearing this, Mary gasps and places her hand on sleeping Jesus. With a deep breath and a silent prayer for God’s help, Mary quickly prepares for the journey. They had to move fast. The very life of her Son, Jesus was hanging in the balance! It was time to leave the land of Judea and enter the land of Egypt.
Joseph continued, “We must remain quiet. Hurry; there is not a moment to waste. We must leave now.” (Reference Matthew 2:14) You wrap sleeping Jesus with a few extra blankets and carry Him out of the house to where Joseph has already prepared transport. And as the city of Bethlehem slept, by the light of the moon, Joseph and Mary began the quest to save Jesus’ life from a murderous king. By escaping to a foreign land that had murdered countless Jewish people in generations past, God would keep His own Son, Jesus safe from an eminent genocide.
Moses had been used by God to deliver the Israelite people from Pharaoh, the wicked ruler of Egypt, in generations past (Exodus 3:4-8). And now, God was directing them into that very land for safety from King Herod who ruled over Judea in Israel. The very place where the Jewish people had suffered anguish, wrath and death at the hands of foreign oppressors, was now being used by God as a safe house for His very Son. This was a test of Joseph’s faith in following the Lord’s leading. He was found faithful to obey the angel’s message from the Lord and fled with Mary and her Son to Egypt. They would remain their until the angel would appear to them to announce the Lord calling them out of Egypt, to fulfill the words of the prophet Hosea (Hosea 11:1).
“He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON.” Matthew 2:15 (NASB)
King Herod had grown impatient with the return of the magi. After inquiries had confirmed that they were not in route back to Jerusalem to report to him of the Christ child’s whereabouts, he was livid! His rage would be felt through an entire generation of his own people. With anger spewing from his royal mouth, King Herod ordered the massacre of all young boys, two-years and under, who lived in Bethlehem and its vicinity—given the timeline of the first appearance of the star from the magi’s account (Matthew 2:16). Screams, shouts and the sound of horror arose from Bethlehem of Judea and its vicinity at the order of King Herod. This fulfilled the words of the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:15).
17Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: 18“A VOICE WAS HEARD IN RAMAH, WEEPING AND GREAT MOURNING, RACHEL WEEPING FOR HER CHILDREN; AND SHE REFUSED TO BE COMFORTED, BECAUSE THEY WERE NO MORE.” Matthew 2:17-18 (NASB)
Yet, Joseph, Mary and Jesus were already well on their way to Egypt. The hands of mortal man could not thwart God’s plan of salvation. Jesus would one day give up His perfect life as a ransom for mankind, but it was not to be taken (Isaiah 6:7, Isaiah 53:4-12, Romans 4:25, Hebrews 9:28, 1 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:24). Divine rescue for each soul, within each generation across the globe, would be grasped through the absolute power; authority and embodiment of the living God encapsulated within this Child, Jesus Christ (Romans 5:6, Romans 5:8 & Romans 5:18).
“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.” Isaiah 9:6-7 (NASB)
After the death of King Herod, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, announcing King Herod’s death and stating that it was time to return to Israel; now. At these words, Joseph put his hand on Mary’s shoulder as she slept. “Mary. Mary. It is time to return to Israel. We must leave now. The angel said that King Herod is dead. It is time to go home.”
20“Get up, take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; for those who sought the Child’s life are dead.” 21So Joseph got up, took the Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.” Matthew 2:20-21 (NASB)
Just as before, under the darkness of night, Joseph led Child Jesus and Mary back to their homeland of Nazareth (Luke 1:26). With all preparations made in a very short time, they set off to return to Israel. The Lord’s hand of protection was on Jesus. It would be through the acknowledgement and acceptance of Jesus’s perfect life, death and resurrection from the grave that all, within each generation around the globe, would receive the Lord’s protection from eternal suffering and death.
“9By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10 (NASB)
After learning that Herod’s son, Archelaus, was reigning in Jerusalem, Joseph grew terrified of a second attempt at Jesus’ life. In a dream, Joseph was warned not to go there. Joseph then settled with his wife Mary and her child in Nazareth of Galilee, his hometown (Luke 2:4). It would be here, within Nazareth in Galilee of Judea, that Joseph and Mary would raise Jesus. Nazareth was not highly esteemed among cities (John 1:46), but through this act of faithfulness to the Lord’s leading, the words of the prophet were fulfilled.
Just as Mary and Joseph were willing to be obedient to the call of God for their lives, may we too, be found faithful to follow the Lord’s leading each day. Jesus Christ has the power to transform any twisted situation, shattered life or absent purpose. When Jesus Christ declared His public ministry at the age of thirty, the next three years, would be filled with astounding miracles (e.g. bringing many back from the dead (Luke 7:7-10, John 11:38-44), casting out demons (Matthew 8:28-34, Matthew 9:23-26, Matthew 9:32-33, Mark 1:21-34, Mark 7:29-30 & Luke 11:14), battling injustice of the downtrodden (Matthew 8:2-3, Matthew 9:2, Matthew 9:21-22, Matthew 9:28-29, Matthew 12:13, Mark 10:51-52, John 4:14) and ultimately reigning victorious over death and eternal suffering (1 Corinthians 15:4)).
8He will swallow up death for all time, and the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces, and He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken. 9And it will be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” Isaiah 25:8-9 (NASB)
Ladies, I encourage each one reading, if you have not yet met this Jesus, the Son of the Living God—personally—I encourage you to do so at this time. In complete sincerity, it does not matter how much you may have “screwed up” or how much unforgiveness you may hold for another. Bring your heart and life before the Lord Jesus Christ in prayer this very moment. Invite Him into the hard places—the memories that are difficult to speak of—the ones you wish will never become a post on any social media platform. There is forgiveness of all shortcomings, failures and screw-ups. There is hope for each day through His divine leading. There is purpose for your life. Come clean before the Lord Jesus Christ and ask Him to be the ruler—the ultimate input that matters—in your life. Why? Because you are worth it.
“6For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” Romans 5:6-11 (NASB)
There truly is much to rejoice over during the Christmas season! As you recount the story of Jesus’ birth, recall also His perfect life (Hebrews 4:15) and His divine determination to obey Father God’s direction to bring healing to a broken world through His own death on the Cross of Calvary (Luke 22:42) and resurrection from the grave on the third day (Acts 10:40). Ladies, there is hope, a fresh start, clear direction and eternal security through Jesus Christ. May you meet the One, called Christ, whom we celebrate this season.
Jesus Christ is the answer. And for this truth, it is a Merry Christmas indeed!