Summary: God had planned this trip to Egypt for centuries. But why choose that pagan land? Why not someplace else?
(We turned the video's sound down as I explained the artist and artwork that was being shown).
I’m not much for modern art, but this particular piece of artwork intrigued me. It’s the work of the renowned French artist Bernard Pras. He’s known for creating his masterpieces with common objects as he does here. If look closely you’ll see that this composition is made from the specific placing of a guitar, a sofa, a bicycle seat, a piece of luggage and so on.
You’ll also notice that the only way you can see what artist intended is to look at it only from the perspective he wants it seen from.
In the same way, God often uses common objects and arranges them in such a way that if you look at them in a certain way you can see exactly what He wants you to see. And that’s what’s happening here in Matthew 2. God is telling us a story (that many of us have heard ALL our lives) and puts common objects together in such a way that -if you look at it from His angle - you'll see exactly what God wants you to see.
First let’s break it down.
Jesus is now about 2 years old. It appears that his family has gotten a house in Bethlehem and settled into life there and it seems that maybe Joseph’s family in Bethlehem has helped him establish himself there.
But then something happens that is out of the ordinary. Wisemen show up from the East with gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. Some have speculated that there may have been as many as 300 men in that caravan – servants, a military escort and others – who have come to this humble town of Bethlehem - city of little more than 1000 residents. This entourage probably caused quite a stir as they worshiped this new child and give their gifts to the family.
Then as mysteriously as they've come, the Wisemen return to their homes by another road.
That night, Joseph is warned in a dream that the family needs to flee for their lives. Joseph is told "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." Matthew 2:13
Now Herod had found out that a child had been born in Bethlehem just a couple days before. This child, he was told, was to be the new King of the Jews. But, of course, that job was already spoken for. Herod was king, and he had no intention of sharing throne.
Herod had a reputation for jealously protecting his power.
• When his 16 year old bro-in-law tried to make a name for himself Herod playfully held the boy’s head under water until he died.
• Years later, one of his many his wives, became involved in a plot to have her family rise to power… he had her executed.
• And, a couple of years before his death, he heard rumors that two of his sons, were engaged in a plot to kill him – he had them executed as well.
So when the angel warned Joseph to take his family and flee to Egypt… that was good advice.