After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” Matthew 2:19-20
God doesn’t usually keep us in one place forever. Even if you grow up in your hometown and stay there for one hundred years, you aren’t the same person you were at the start. Times change; people change; we grow and change. It’s because God doesn’t usually keep us in the same place forever.
An angel had told Joseph to stay with Mary. Then, an angel told Joseph to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt, to keep Jesus safe. Now, an angel appears to Joseph again, and again in a dream, and tells him to go home because Herod and the conspirators who wanted to kill the baby Jesus are dead. Examine these verses and you learn a few things.
First, Jesus was fully human. His life was perishable (and would, in God’s right time, perish). He could and would die, and because of who He was, He was in danger from would-be murderers. Jesus was like us: fully human yet still fully God. I find that comforting, because it means that He identifies with us. He didn’t let Himself descend into sin like we do, but He still felt other things we feel, thought things we think. And He would grow up to be tempted as we are because He is fully human like we are. He grew like we do.
Another thing: Jesus’ life was influenced by the same kinds of things that influence and affect us. Threats from other people, events set in motion by high-ranking individuals, travel to far-off places, parents caring and providing for Him, sleep and dreams, places to live each day Jesus lived in a world with the same kinds of events and challenges that we face. Just like Him being human like us, He was influenced by outside events.
Last, Jesus was a stranger in a strange land. He and His family were transients in Egypt; there for a purpose (protection) but only for a short time (presumably a few years). Egypt wasn’t their home: it was only a place to stay for a little while. Every day, you and I, we sometimes feel like strangers in strange places. “How did I get here?” I sometimes ask myself. How did my life turn out this way? I’m not the same person I was, but sometimes I feel like I’m living in a strange land. It comforts me to know that Jesus was once a stranger in a strange place, and that He can identify with what I feel.
Thank God He doesn’t keep us in the same places forever.
For more reading: Exodus 4:19, Acts 5:19, Matthew 2:21
All praise to you, Lord, for how You move us (and with us) in life.