Summary: Mistreatment of others is part of every nation’s history. Let’s recognize humanity’s mistreatment of foreigners and innocent children, and Jesus as the world’s only hope, in Matthew 2:13-23.
Mistreatment of others is part of every nation’s history. Let’s recognize humanity’s mistreatment of foreigners and innocent children, and Jesus as the world’s only hope, in Matthew 2:13-23.
Flee to Egypt
Matthew 2:13-15 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.” 14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, 15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
We are confronted by the fact that peace on earth is not yet here, not even in the church. Instead, the news was of yet another brutal monarch killing people, children under two years of age. Jesus’ family fled to Egypt. Jesus identified from childhood with all who suffer persecution.
The murder of perhaps as many as 20 boys under two in Bethlehem is not known in any other record, but due to Herod’s similar murderous abuse is very plausible. Jesus and His parents became stateless refugees. We cannot look self-righteously at Herod. All nations have a history of atrocities.
Massacre of the Innocents
Matthew 2:16-18 “Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: 18 ‘A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted, Because they are no more.’”
Jesus was a foreigner in Egypt and later in Nazareth. Under God’s law, He reminded them that uncircumcised foreigners must be given the same poverty relief as a native born citizen, and live by the same legal standards. God watches for the welfare of the foreigner and other disadvantaged groups.
God will bless a people that does not oppress the foreigners among them. In the New Testament we are told that God will speak the Gospel through foreigners, but Christians of all nations are not foreigners to each other, though foreigners to the world and their citizenship is in heaven.
One of the saddest stories of Christmas is the murder of the little children. We decry the senseless murder of innocent children at a school shooting and the perverted treatment of little ones in child porn and then turn a blind eye to the greatest abuse of our children, abortion.
We kill innocent children mostly for convenience. We abhor rape yet punish the wrong people, the innocent children who had nothing to do with the crime, but are just as much victims as the mothers were. We decry terrorism, but are guilty of our own homegrown terrorism against the innocents.
The Home in Nazareth
Matthew 2:19-23 “Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.’ 21 Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. 23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
Jesus returned to provincial town Nazareth and later from there as an adult, began a ministry telling of the good news of peace. Jesus was despised and rejected (Isaiah 53:2-3, Isaiah 53:7-9, Isaiah 53:12; Psalm 22) as were people from Nazareth (John 1:46; John 7:52).
Mistreatment of others is part of every nation’s history. Let’s recognize humanity’s mistreatment of foreigners and innocent children, and Jesus as the world’s only hope.
I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord And the praises of the Lord, According to all that the Lord has bestowed on us, And the great goodness toward the house of Israel, Which He has bestowed on them according to His mercies, According to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses. 8 For He said, “Surely they are My people, Children who will not lie.” So He became their Savior. 9 In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the Angel of His Presence saved them; In His love and in His pity He redeemed them; And He bore them and carried them All the days of old.