There were several occasions when I worked at the local newspaper where I was able to listen to police reports on the scanner as information came in regarding this car wreck or that accident. For the more serious collisions I was also exposed to photographs of the wreckage and often pictures of the deceased victims. Those were very disturbing times, and in those experiences I was made keenly aware of how quickly a life might end or be changed forever.
Life may be full of energy and strength, of courage and hope, yet at the same time life can be fragile. My experiences have forever affected my concern about my own children as they learn to drive or take my car to go here or there. I can’t help but fear for their safety.
The telling of the Christmas story each year usually ends before we get to this section of Matthew. The angels have announced the birth. Shepherds and wise men have arrived. And now an angel again speaks to Joseph. What does he say?
In spite of the fact that Jesus is God, that the baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit, that shepherds and magi came to visit, the baby is still a human and vulnerable to human situations. King Herod has heard about this new king and fears for his throne. To solve the problem he will have all the infant boys in and around Bethlehem murdered in an attempt to stop this rival king.
To keep Jesus safe Joseph must pick up his family, his wife and young son, and go to a foreign land. We often overlook this part of the Bible, but in this moment in time Jesus was at serious risk. He could have been killed as an infant.
What does that tell us about our Savior? It doesn’t mean that he is weak. It doesn’t mean that he is not able. It doesn’t mean that he is not really God.
What it means is that he was completely human so that he would understand us and we might understand him. Jesus was human, so much so that his life was just as fragile and tenuous as our own, as an act of compassion and love.
DAILY CHALLENGE: Share your fears with Jesus.