13Now after [the wise men] had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, 15and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”
16When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. 17Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
18“A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”
19When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, 20“Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.” 21Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. 23There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “He will be called a Nazorean.”
In the process of telling the truth about God, the Bible also tells the truth about us. And part of the truth about us is that rare is anyone who welcomes a replacement. It’s true in the work place, on the sports team, and in politics.
When wisemen from the east arrive in Jerusalem and ask where they might find the newborn King of the Jews, the current King of the Jews … King Herod … takes special interest. He and his advisors help the wisemen interpret the information they have about a star … and interpretation that leads them to Bethlehem. As they head on their way, King Herod asks that they let him know when they have found the baby … so that he might pay his homage as well (wink, wink).
When the wisemen find Jesus, they are warned in a dream against sharing that news with Herod and they return home by another way. When Herod realizes he’s been jilted, he simply orders the destruction of all boys in Bethlehem under the age of 2.
Matthew makes clear Jesus’ Kingship … Jesus’ Lordship … is going to challenge the self-interest we human employ when trying to maintain own position and security in the world. He’s going to demonstrate that the only lasting position and security in the world is that provided by God … even though it will cost his own life the process. At least until God raises him from the dead, revealing the eternal position and security God holds for him and all people.
Living as subjects to the baby Jesus King of the Jews, may he inspire in us the same trust in God such that we need to protect our own position and security in the world, but rather offer that position and security for Jesus’ mission to inspire such trust in God among all people.