The Magi's announcement of a Jewish king born in King Herod's territory made him very anxious.
Having been told that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, King Herod plotted to destroy the young child.
The wise men, who had travelled so far from Persia, eventually arrived. God's special guidance had been confirmed by the Scriptures and led them to a house in Bethlehem - where they found Jesus.
The wise men had gone. In a dream, God told them not to tell Herod anything about their visit to Jesus; so they went home by slipping across the border without going to Jerusalem.
The joy of Christ's birth, and the relief of His escape from Herod's clutches, seems eclipsed by this dreadful narrative of infanticide.
Egypt was not to be Jesus' home. It was a temporary refuge, as it had been for the children of Israel over 1800 years previously - until it was God’s time for them to move.
God had told Joseph to move Jesus and Mary out of exile, in Egypt, and back into Israel. Herod, the murderous king, was dead.
These days we get to know about local and global news impersonally - through the TV, radio or internet. Mobile phones carry the information to us, wherever we may be.
In those days, travelling philosophers made a good living. They had a new idea and people paid to hear it. Not so John. He was under God's instructions to get people ready to welcome the Messiah.
John the Baptist's wilderness preaching-place was a popular destination. Many came because they longed for the Messiah to come, and wanted to be ready for Him.
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