Monday 28 December 2020

Bible Book:
Matthew angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt…’ Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt… (vs 13-14)

Matthew 2:13-18 Monday 28 December 2020

Psalm 124


Joseph is one of a number of people recorded in Scripture as hearing the word of God through dreams. Matthew notes three times when Joseph obeyed the advice of an angel who came to him in a dream. First, he goes ahead and takes the pregnant Mary as his wife (Matthew 1.20); now in today's passage he gets up in the middle of the night and heads for Egypt with Mary and the infant Jesus (it was about 260 miles to Cairo). Finally, some  time later, after the death of Herod, Joseph will return to Nazareth with his family (Matthew 2:20).

Messages from God are often conveyed by dreams: Jacob saw the angels of God ascending and descending a ladder in a dream; Joseph, son of Jacob, not only experienced vivid dreams, but had a gift for interpreting the dreams of others; the prophet Daniel was also able to interpret dreams; and finally Peter came to understand the inclusive nature of the Gospel message through a vivid dream.

At the time of Jesus’ birth, Egypt was outside the jurisdiction of Herod and was a country where Jewish people often had taken refuge in time of trouble (see 1 Kings 11.40; Jeremiah 26.21); There were several major trading routes running through Palestine to North Africa which might facilitate a quick and relatively safe exit and there is both security and anonymity when travelling alongside others.

Christians in Egypt, particularly of the Coptic tradition, rejoice and give glory to God that the Holy Family took refuge in their country; they attach considerable significance to this. For us, it is important to remember that, as one development agency has put it, "Our Lord knows a thing or two about refugees; he was one."

Points to Ponder:

  • How do you experience God’s guidance – through dreams or might your angels be human?
  • Reflect on the plight of those today who must move to escape danger – might God be glorified by the way in which you receive them?


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