The Wise Men

Today's Bible reading: Matthew 2

Another character that we need to bring in and consider is Herod the Great … who is portrayed in a way which fits exactly into the picture we have of him from other non-biblical sources, as well.  A man crazed with power and obsessed with jealousy, he seeks to kill the new royal baby.  But the magi – aka wise men - from the East (the traditional number of whom - three - is based on the gifts they presented) refuse to betray the Lord.  After worshiping the new king as representatives of the non-Jewish world, these foreigners return home without reporting first to Herod.

Matthew, as I mentioned a moment ago, is interested in the fulfillment of prophecy.  Thus, the flight of the holy family to Egypt becomes fulfillment of prophesy spoken by Hosea.  Jesus is the new Israel … the Son that God brings out of Egypt … but a perfectly obedient son – not like the old son whom God once brought out of Egypt through Moses.

And just as there was a murder of children decreed by Pharaoh at the time of Moses, there is a sad sequel here.  The murder of the babes of Bethlehem by the enraged Herod, fills us with horror and disgust, as well as pity.  Yet it should also remind us that the child to Bethlehem is Himself marked for suffering! 

After a few years in Egypt, Jesus returns with Mary and Joseph to live in Nazareth – a town off the beaten path.  There - in the obscurity of Galilee - the child could be safe.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, keep me from ever doubting Your protecting care.  Amen.