The Shadow of Death

Devotion Text

Matthew 2:13

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

King Herod did not allow for threats to his authority. He executed several of his own children and some of his wives because he thought they were plotting against him. With the birth of Jesus, his brutality was demonstrated in chilling ways.

The wise men’s search for Jesus made Herod aware that a newborn king was in the area. Since he wasn’t certain of Jesus’ exact location, he ordered the killing of all boys, two years old or younger, in Bethlehem and the surrounding area. Jesus escaped only because Joseph was warned in a dream. When we think of the events surrounding Jesus’ birth we often picture Jesus sleeping in “heavenly peace.” But in Herod’s actions, we see that hell was unleashed when God became man.

Death followed Jesus throughout his life. From the moment of his birth, those in authority were trying to kill him. And finally, they did. But not as a helpless victim; Jesus voluntarily gave himself up for us on the cross.  He died in my place. He died so that I could live. Have you surrendered to the King? Or, like Herod, are you still trying to keep him out of your life?

Father, shatter my fanciful thoughts of a manageable baby in a manger. Move my mind to see the Suffering Servant and bow before the One who died on the cross so that I could live. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


For parents: Discuss the difficult events surrounding the birth of Jesus with your children. Satan was actively trying to destroy him as soon as he entered humanity.


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