21 Dec. Matthew 2:13-14

21 Dec. The Holy Family flees to Egypt

"After they [the wise men] left, an angel of the Lord came to Joseph in a dream and said, 'Get up! Take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt, because [King] Herod is starting to look for the child [who was born to be 'King of the Jews'] so he can kill him. Stay in Egypt until I tell you to return.'"

"So Joseph got up and left for Egypt during the night with the child [Jesus] and his mother [Mary]."

          (Matthew 2:13-14)


In Matthew's account of the birth of Jesus, Joseph is warned by an angel in a dream to take Jesus and Mary to Egypt to escape King Herod’s wrath. The 'wise men' had visited Herod's palace in Jerusalem searching for an heir to Herod's throne. They had asked, "Where is the baby who was born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." (Matthew 2:2)

Matthew tells us that, "When King Herod heard this, he was troubled..." (Matthew 2:3) In reality, he was absolutely furious that a child had been born who might threaten his ability to keep the throne of Judaea (the 'Land of the Jews') within his own family.

We are so used to hearing this story that we hardly ever stop to think about the faithfulness of Joseph in following the instructions of the angel. After all, we're told that this warning came in a dream. Do you trust dreams? And furthermore, the dream featured an angel. Was this real? Would you have got up in the night, abandoned your family home, and set off for a foreign land over a hundred miles away?

But don't forget that this wasn't the first time an angel had appeared to Joseph in a dream. Remember when he first heard that Mary was pregnant and he planned to divorce her secretly?

At this point, "an angel of the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, 'Joseph, descendant of David, don't be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the baby in her is from the Holy Spirit'." (Matthew 1:20)

If you had already trusted an angel who appeared in a dream and said such an unlikely thing, perhaps you'd be more willing to follow further advice if the angel appeared again and warned you that your life was in immediate peril?

So the Holy Family - Mary, Joseph and Jesus - escaped by night, just before Herod ordered the murder of all the baby boys born in and around Bethlehem during the previous two years.

The photo shows a mosaic of the Holy Family travelling to Egypt in Coptic Cairo.

You can read more about the flight to Egypt @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/the-bible-journey/3-jesuss-childhood-journeys-b/the-holy-family-flee-to-egypt/

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