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Sometimes you can’t really understand a story without first understanding the back story behind it but the story first.
When Jesus was about 2 years old some scholars from the east came to worship him. As the arrive in country they first meet with King Herod. Now Herod was an evil man, having executed even many of his friends and family simply based on the fear that they were trying to steal his throne, and many times this proved to be untrue. He loved power. You can imagine his alarm when these scholars from the east told him that they had come to worship the Messiah who had been born in his territory. Herod instantly thought this child would one day steal his throne. Of course, not wanting to alarm the scholars, he plays along giving them his blessing to go and find this child so he could come and worship too.
The scholars set off, they find Jesus and his family, offer gifts to the child and fall on their knees in worship. After they left, they went a different way home because even though Herod had tried to trick them, they knew Herod had ulterior motives. Once again, an angel of the Lord also appeared to Jospeh in a dream, telling him he needed to flee with his family to Egypt because Herod was going to massacre every boy 2 years and under in and around Bethlehem. So Joseph fled with Mary and Jesus to this land once hostile to the Jews.
Some time later, Herod died and they were able to return home, but not exactly home. Herod’s son had taken the throne so Joseph took his family a little further north and settled in Nazareth, starting life over again continuing to raise Jesus, who would one day be the Messiah-deliverer.
Now the backstory. Look way back in time, and Moses was an image of things to come. Moses was born in Egypt. Pharaoh, like Herod, wanted all the baby boys killed because he feared they would one day rise up against him and take over. Moses, like Jesus and his family, flees home only to return one day because God had called him to deliver his people. He would deliver his people, telling Pharaoh, “Let my people go!”
And Jesus would be no different. He would one day grow up, sacrificing himself on the cross and declaring to death itself, “Let my people go.” And both of these stories have something in common. The people would have to follow the Deliverer, and this time the Deliver was God in the flesh, Jesus, the Messiah, on a mission to eternally set things straight.
A retelling from Matthew 2:1-23
I don’t know what you personally need delivered from. It may be an addiction. It may be sadness. It may be a bad relationship. The one thing I know for sure is that all of these have sin in common and Jesus has defeated sin so that we may have life. Our hope as Jesus followers is that one day we’ll be fully delivered from all these things because of Jesus and the Resurrection.
Setting After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the days of King Herod. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus are settled in Bethlehem at this point. Jesus is around 2 years of age, and they're going about every day normal life.
- Wise men from who had heard of the birth of Jesus
- Infant Jesus (possibly up to 2 years old) and his family
- King Herod who wanted Jesus dead
Tension King Herod trying to use the magi to find Jesus but they were smarter than that. King Herod ordering that all the boys in and around Bethlehem 2 years and younger to be killed. The family of Jesus now on the run to Egypt trying to escape Herod's wrath.
Also imagine what must have been going on in Joseph and Mary's mind. Foreigners who were essentials priests in their own religions had come to worship the Christ-child. What an angel had told Joseph two years prior was beginning to play itself out and now all of a sudden, the local King wanted their child dead. What a time of fear and uncertainty.
Resolution Herod eventually dies and this allows Jesus and his family to return back north. Herod's son Archelaus was ruling over Judea now so Joseph took his family to Galilee instead to live and as a safe place for Jesus to grow up.
How does this story help me love God more?
How does this story help me love others more?
Why has this story endured?
What is true for them then that is true for us today?