Unity in Christ Jesus
Matthew 2:13-23: An angel appears to Joseph in a dream telling him to take Jesus and Mary to Egypt. Joseph follows this command just in time; when Herod realizes he has been tricked by the visitors from the East, he orders the killing of all boys two years old and younger living in or near Bethlehem. Mothers around the region mourn; and in verse 18, Matthew quotes from Jeremiah 31:15 to emphasize this tragic event. After Herod dies, an angel tells Joseph that the family can return, and they settle in Nazareth in Galilee.
The Escape to Egypt
13 After they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph and said, “Herod will be looking for the child in order to kill him. So get up, take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you to leave.”
14 Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and left during the night for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until Herod died. This was done to make come true what the Lord had said through the prophet, “I called my Son out of Egypt.”
The Killing of the Children
16 When Herod realized that the visitors from the East had tricked him, he was furious. He gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its neighborhood who were two years old and younger—this was done in accordance with what he had learned from the visitors about the time when the star had appeared.
17 In this way what the prophet Jeremiah had said came true:
18 “A sound is heard in Ramah,
the sound of bitter weeping.
Rachel is crying for her children;
she refuses to be comforted,
for they are dead.”
The Return from Egypt
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 back to the land of Israel, because those who tried to kill the child are dead.” 21 So Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went back to Israel.
22 But when Joseph heard that Archelaus had succeeded his father Herod as king of Judea, he was afraid to go there. He was given more instructions in a dream, so he went to the province of Galilee 23 and made his home in a town named Nazareth. And so what the prophets had said came true: “He will be called a Nazarene.”
Today’s Key Verse: Matthew 2:14
Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and left during the night for Egypt.
In verse 15, Matthew quotes from Hosea 11:1, indicating that the events surrounding the birth of Jesus fulfilled an Old Testament prophecy. How was Joseph warned to flee from Herod’s wrath? Where was he to take Mary and Jesus? When and how was Joseph instructed to return to Israel with Mary and Jesus? Where in the world today do people live in fear, flee their homeland, and seek refuge elsewhere?
Jesus, you came to us as a child, innocent, fragile and in need of care, and as a king for all people. Because of you, I have come to know God’s grace. I praise your holy name. Amen.
Matthew 3:1-17: John baptizes Jesus.