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"Sir, we wish to see Jesus" John 12:21
 
Flight into Egypt   FLIGHT INTO EGYPT

Thirty three hundred years after the event, Jews still celebrate the liberation of their forbears from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. This passage from slavery to freedom was the foundational event in Israelís history. Though the story of the Jews began half a millennium earlier with Abraham, it is in the Exodus from Egypt that the story of the nation of Israel begins. Moses led the people out of Egypt to Mount Sinai where he received the Law from Yahweh that was to govern the nation. A generation later Joshua led Israel into the land of Canaan, the homeland Yahweh promised he would give to Abrahamís descendents.

The story of the Exodus is recounted each year in the festival of Passover. When the Temple stood in Jerusalem it was required of Jewish males to go up to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast before Yahweh. Since the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. by the Romans, Passover has been celebrated in the home with a traditional meal. The Seder, the order of service for the Passover meal, contains this instruction, ďIn every generation let each man look on himself as if he came forth out of Egypt.Ē

When the Magi failed to report back to Herod he ordered the male children two years old and younger in and around Bethlehem to be killed. This was an attempt to eliminate any possible rival to his throne. Herod, the Judean king who ruled at the pleasure of Rome, was known for such brutality. He had two of his own sons killed for the same reason. Herodís plans were foiled, however, because Joseph, being warned in a dream to flee, had already taken Mary and Jesus to Egypt. There they remained until they received word of Herodís death. Joseph then brought his family back to Israel but settled in Nazareth because Archelaus, one of Herodís sons, was ruling Judea in his fatherís place.

ďOut of Egypt have I called my son,Ē the prophet Hosea declared of Godís deliverance of Israel from Egypt. Mathew reports that the prophet was not only speaking of the nation as a son but of the Messiah as well. Messiah Jesus recapitulates the story of the whole people of Israel in his own.

(Painting by Fra Angelico)

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