What are you most scared of?
I’m sure you’ve heard this story many times before. Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Exciting visitors came to see him but were a little confused and went to the palace (the most obvious place to see a new king). The religious scholars of the day pointed them in the right direction, but not without somewhat worrying King Herod. He wanted the wise men to come back to him in Jerusalem, “so he too could worship the baby”, but after some dreams, the wise men thought better of it and the baby was whisked away to safety in Egypt.
But Herod wanted to make sure, and ordered that all the little boys of a suitable age were killed, just in case one would claim to be this new king. It was probably around about 30 baby boys who died. Horrendous. It shouldn’t have happened, and it is such a good example of the sin and brokenness in our world, and of everything Jesus came to mend and make new.
It is also an example of fear getting the better of someone, and letting it shape their actions in a horrible way. The king of the Jews was meant to be someone who could lead the people in worship of God, and help them to be the people of God. He was meant to help them keep to the right path, but he got it so wrong, and he missed what God was doing. Also, how stupid was it to be scared of a baby. I have it on good authority that most of what babies do is poo and sleep. Maybe that might be terrifying to some, but really? Fear can make people do some crazy things.
We talked yesterday about God having a plan in and through all the mess. Even Egypt demonstrates a powerful plan and great symbolism here – because just as God brought his people out of slavery in Egypt many centuries before, so he brought the Messiah out of Egypt. Jesus was a refugee as a child – he was fully human as well as fully God, so he was really vulnerable. The family settled in Nazareth so they could live quietly out of the public eye.
Lord God, we thank you that in you we don’t need to be afraid. Thank you that you guide us, and that you have a plan. Help us overcome the fears we have in our lives and not let them get in the way of our worship of you. Amen.
Pray for refugees in our world today, that they might find comfort and refuge and a place to call home.