Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Friday after the First Sunday after the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord

Posted on January 3, 2020 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: St. Matthew 2:19-23 (NKJV)
2:19 Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” 21 Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.
22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. 23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
This section of the Gospel continues Matthew’s practice of pointing his Jewish audience to the fulfillment of Messianic prophecy as it relates to Jesus. The words at the end of our reading refer to several Old Testament prefigurations and predictions that the Messiah would be despised, for in Jesus’ day “Nazarene” was virtually a synonym for “despised”. We see this reality in Nathanael’s question to his brother Phillip, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” in relation to Jesus’ city of origin.
While this all presents a picture of rejection and desperation, the opening verse makes it clear that God is in control, even when things appear bleak and hopeless. God intervenes directly with the earthly life of Jesus and those around Him. We also travel through a world that does not want us in its midst, and are surrounded by people who often despise us and our religion. Like our Lord, we are guided by divine providence and the heavenly Father’s holy angels. The Lord’s holy Word and His Holy Spirit will show us the proper path. This inspired text also presents the wholly human nature of the Son of God with the presentation of His dependence on His earthly father for travel arrangements.
We pray: Lord God, let Your Holy Spirit mercifully strengthen our faith while restraining the old man in us, that the new man may come forth in repentance and faithfulness to walk the path which You set through Your holy means of grace. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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