TUESDAY, MARCH 27
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 2
Yesterday, when we left off at the end of Matthew 1, the birth of Jesus had been reported. As chapter 2 opens, we are introduced to Herod the king (not a nice guy at all) and some wise men from the east (nice guys who were really curious). These wise men were looking for the One born the King of the Jews.
Typically, our manger scenes have the wise men at the manger. And there is nothing actually wrong with that but Jesus was probably closer to two years old than he was a new born when the wise men came on the scene. That probably means they didn’t find Him at the manger. That doesn’t mean you should dismantle your manger scene. It just means that our traditions are not necessarily Biblically accurate.
King Herod was all shook up over the birth of this King and set plans in motion to kill all the baby boys two years old and younger. As a result of that Joseph took his little family and fled to Egypt to escape the persecution.
I don’t know if you have ever thought about it or not but there is a lot of connections to some very current issues wrapped up in this part of the story. To begin with, Jesus’ home was heaven. In a very real way, He immigrated to earth when He was born in Bethlehem. And then because of Herod’s persecution, Jesus literally became a refugee when his family fled to Egypt.
I don’t mean to stir up anything with this. But I do think that in the midst of all of the current controversies over immigrants and refugees in our country, we would do well to take a look at what the Bible says about these folks. We really do need a theology of immigrants and refugees to inform the modern American church of our role in this crisis.
As Matthew 2 closes, Herod the king dies. Joseph and his family come back and settle in the city of Nazareth in Galilee. At the time of Jesus, Nazareth was one of the most despised cities in all of Israel. In fact, later in Jesus’ life we read, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46)
There are many things to be learned from this chapter. But one of the things that struck me is that when things seem so out of control, God is still in control. Our plans may not be working out (Joseph probably hadn’t planned on moving to Egypt) but God’s plan will always work out just like He has always planned it. I know it is hard to trust God when things are swirling around us and seem on the verge of falling apart. In fact, when things seem to be falling apart, God’s plan is often coming together. That very well the very best time to trust God and His good plan for your life.