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Matthew 2:13,16-18 Flight to Egypt

Matthew 2:13,16-18 Flight to Egypt

13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “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.”

16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

18   “A voice is heard in Ramah,

weeping and great mourning,

Rachel weeping for her children

and refusing to be comforted,

because they are no more.”

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Can we call a person evil? Many people don’t think so. They say it’s simplistic to divide the world into “good guys” and “bad guys.” Bad guys, they say, aren’t bad; they’re misunderstood. They have personal problems they need help to overcome; they need sympathy, not condemnation. It’s cynical, we’re told, to believe that some people knowingly and purposely choose to do wrong.

In a sense it is simplistic to divide the world into good guys and bad guys. It ignores the fact that, according to Scripture, there is evil in all of us. Yet history is filled with people who acted out their evil in horrible ways: Hitler, Stalin, and Nero come to mind.

King Herod also comes to mind. Herod’s conduct in these verses has made his name a synonym for evil. There was no reason for Herod to hate Jesus. Jesus posed no threat to Herod. And yet, to secure his throne, Herod tried to kill him. If that meant killing a few dozen other children along the way, Herod didn’t care. Herod’s cruelty appalls us.

It does not, however, surprise us. We know from Scripture how desperately wicked the human heart is. We know what people are capable of doing. One example strikes close to home. Every year in our country, millions of children are killed through abortion-sacrificed to human lust and selfishness.

The real surprise in these verses is not what Herod did but what God did. In the person of Jesus, the almighty God and ruler of heaven and earth became a helpless, little child. He made himself vulnerable to a murderous tyrant who commanded an entire army.

Furthermore, who protected God’s Son from Herod? A poor carpenter, who could do nothing but gather his little family and flee. Such was the depth of the humiliation Jesus underwent in order to save us.

Such was the depth of Jesus’ love for us. His love was so profound that it not only led him to run from a tyrant but later to hang from a cross.

Prayer: Dear Lord, keep wicked people from doing wicked deeds. When wicked people do act, please turn their evil into good. Amen.