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  • Writer's pictureAnush A. John

December 13

Scripture Reading

Matthew 2:13-15

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Hosea 11:1

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.

Reflection

After the worship by the wise men from the East, there is a situation of urgency. Joseph is given specific instructions for the protection of the Holy Child. The instructions are to go to Egypt until the threat is gone.


Egypt would be the most natural location for them to flee. Herod had no authority there and over the centuries whenever the Israelites faced threats to their existence, they would flee to Egypt. In fact, many years ago, Jacob went from Palestine to Egypt to avoid a famine. As a result of these multiple exoduses, there was a colony of Jews at least in every city in Egypt. In Alexandria, there were at least 1 million Jews. As a result, it would have been possible for Joseph and Mary to find countrymen that they could live with.


But Egypt was known as the land of witchcraft and magic. The Talmud said ‘Ten measures of sorcery descended into the world; Egypt received nine, the rest of the world one.’ Apparently, the enemies of Jesus, according to Jewish literature, accused Jesus of learning magic and sorcery from Egypt. This was, of course, a preposterous accusation since Jesus was an infant when he left Egypt.


There are similarities (called typologies) between Moses, the Israelites, and Jesus in their journeys between Egypt and Israel.

Moses fled from Egypt to escape the pursuit of Pharaoh. Jesus fled to Egypt to escape the pursuit of Herod.
Moses left Egypt to deliver Israel from Egypt. Jesus left Egypt to begin the ministry of deliverance.
God delivered the Israelites from Egypt to begin a new covenant with them. Jesus came out of Egypt to inaugurate and mediate a new covenant.

The Christmas story is about God and his covenant with people through Jesus Christ.

This Christmas, God is calling us to a covenant with him and participation in the deliverance that He brings. He is calling us from our various human proclivities into a robust relationship with Jesus Christ, into a working out of the covenant that he made through Jesus Christ.


Questions to ponder: What do we need to leave behind so that we can embrace the relationship with God fully? What aspects of life (even legitimate ones) do we need to modify in order to love God with all our being?






Notes

Song: Silent Night, Michael W. Smith.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV®Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright© 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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