January 5, 2016: Day 2 – Matthew 2

This is the last of our reposts. Tomorrow you will get a brand new post, but for now, enjoy this post. I’m just sorry that we weren’t able to keep Erica Reinmiller’s comment on this post. It was very insightful and helpful to any who would have read it. Maybe, just maybe, she might be able to remember what she said and repost her comment.

I remain surprised and pleasantly interested in the fact that Matthew continues to focus on Joseph as the person who receives the insight and the messages from the Lord.  Remember in 1 it was Joseph who was approached by the angel, and not Mary.  Here twice we find Joseph taking the initiative and being warned in a dream to flee to Egypt and then again to settle in Nazareth.  Joseph does seem like a forgotten figure in Scripture, and often is portrayed as the one who is merely a pawn while everyone else dictates to him what ought to be happening.  Not so in Matthew, he is not only decisive, but also the one chosen by the Lord to receive the messages of what comes next.  Caravaggio’s depiction of the Holy Family fleeing to Egypt is a classic, with Joseph being the one holding the music for the angel Gabriel.

Michelangelo_Caravaggio_025 egypt

This chapter does contain a number of passages that need to be fleshed out, but our space is limited.  The family has transitioned from the manger and the holding pen to a house (vs. 11) where the wise men visit Jesus and offer him three gifts.  We do not know their names, any of them, and we do not know that there were three, although we do know that there were three gifts.  All interesting details that our culture and tradition has taken and developed it into something that is more than what Scripture allows.

So what do we learn about Jesus?  Well we certainly see that he is a survivor.  Even in the midst of the tragedy of the massacre commanded by Herod, the Lord has protected him and allowed him to carry out his purposes.  That is something that we can take away as well.  We must be survivors, and know with confidence that the Lord will protect us and keep us under his watchful gaze so that we can carry out His plans.  In this time of fear in which we live, we can easily devolve into people who are so afraid of what comes next that we do not take steps forward that might involve risk.  We miss the fact that sometimes it takes risk in order to carry out God’s plans.  The trip to Egypt was long and dangerous, but it was one that Joseph knew his family had to take.  The alternative was safer, was easier, just stay in Bethlehem until they could travel again.  But God had a plan and knew that Herod would send his mercenaries to slaughter all those who might be the same age as their son.  The family couldn’t know the reason why they were told to go to Egypt, they just went.  Security and safety in the Lord’s protection is not always what seems the safest, but is always what He tells us to do.

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4 Responses to January 5, 2016: Day 2 – Matthew 2

  1. carol r says:

    What surprised me was the word Magi, means magical , medical and not kings as I have believed in the past. They were people of intelligence. I couldn’t imagine the death of all the boys under two years of age being killed . Jesus was saved, even then he was a savior for all. In Matthew 2:18 was very touching to me , as a mother, Rachel weeping for children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.

    • kcooper says:

      The Greek for magi is magos, and it is “a person noted for unusual capacity of understanding based upon astrology” or “men of wisdom who studied the stars”. This makes sense since they followed the star to Jesus. Yes, again, it is amazing how over time our modern culture has taken over the story of Christmas to create it something that it was potentially never intended to be.
      Another definition is also what you mentioned, someone who practices magic. Very, very different from our fairy tale understanding of the kings with servants visiting Jesus and giving him gifts.

  2. Erica Reinmiller says:

    I am not sure I can recall my previous comment word for word, but I will certainly try! The beauty of this is that I have reread the scripture and post about 3-4 times before typing this out (Which is just what God had planned because he knew that I did not plan to reread this scripture and post tonight, but for some reason beyond my understanding, he wanted me to!).

    What spoke most to me is that Jesus is a survivor and that we too must be survivors! In today’s world, when we are so stressed and have so much to worry about and be anxious about, it can be hard to remember to trust that the Lord will protect us and keep us so that we can carry out his plans, but it is something we must do. It was so strange for me to think of Mary, Joseph and Jesus as living a stressful life, filled with fear and uncertainty; I tend to think of them as living a holy life filled with joy and laid out plans, but that is not the case. Mary, Joseph and Jesus led lives just like us (obviously with different things to worry about and different world problems and thoughts than what we have today), showing me that we are certainly just like Jesus. And if Jesus is a survivor, then we are too- we must be!

    Actually, rereading this scripture and post have made me realize that I have not even had the amount of fear and worry in my life as what I can imagine Mary, Joseph, and Jesus have faced in Matthew 2. This really puts into perspective for me that if Jesus could survive these things, I can surely survive any struggles in my life and there is a purpose and meaning to it all, which I will someday come to see/understand.

    I hope I recalled pretty much of my original comment! Thank you for calling me out and challenging me to reread this scripture and post- clearly, by God’s plan and work, I needed it!

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