Wise men from the East come to Jerusalem seeking the newly born King of the Jews. King Herod, despite his old age, is troubled at the threat of a new leader arising, especially one that wise men traveled far to worship. He gathers together chief priests and scribes in an effort to find this Child. They tell him that the Child was to be born in Bethlehem in accordance with a prophecy from Micah 5:2.
Under a pretense that he wants to worship the Child, Herod sends the wise men to find the Child and bring it back to him. They see the star again and follow it to Bethlehem. But when the wise men see the Christ as a babe with his mother, they fall down, worship Him and gave Him gold, frankincense and myrrh. The wise men are also warned by the heavens in a dream that they should not return to Herod, so they returned home in a different way. This is the first time in this chapter that God preserves the life of the Messiah, for their original orders were to bring the Child back with them.
After the wise men departed Bethlehem, an angel of the Lord comes to Joseph in a dream and tells him to take the Child and his mother to Egypt because Herod would seek to kill the Child. Joseph, revealing the depth of his faith once again, takes his young family to Egypt and they remain there until the death of Herod. It is ironic that God led Joseph to Egypt for Christ’s protection because Egypt was known for being unkind to Jewish children. In this case, it proves to be the safest place for Him in light of King Herod’s danger. This is the second time in this chapter that God preserves the life of the Messiah.
During this time, Herod becomes angry at being unable to find and vanquish the child and orders that all male children, aged two and under that were in Bethlehem and all its districts were to be put to death. These senseless murders fulfilled a project set forth in Jeremiah 31:15.
When old King Herod finally dies, Joseph brings his family back from Egypt, fulfilling a prophecy from Hosea 11:1. Joseph heads to Israel, but he is afraid to go due to the one that is ruling over Judea. At that time God warns him in a dream and Joseph veers into Galilee and settles in a town called Nazareth. This is the third time in this chapter that God preserves the life of the Messiah.
When we think about how the early events of Jesus’s life were so wonderfully and perfectly orchestrated by Almighty God, it is astounding. These events were planned a very long time before they occurred and the outcome was known and created by God all along.
Thinking about a divine power that has absolute knowledge and control over events should put fear into our hearts. We are never really alone. Continuously our thoughts, behaviors and intentions are known by Almighty God: “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:13
But we need to take heart in His saving power, the blood of Jesus Christ that redeems us from our sins. In the midst of a troubled world, alluring temptations, and promises of things better than what we have now, the Word of God gives us the strength we need to continue to live for Him:
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Romans 8:31-35
None of these things listed in Romans 8 can separate us from the love of Christ. It is all around us. Even now.