Does God need to become a refugee?
When the three wise men had gone, the 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 and wants to kill him.”
When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magic who came from the Orient, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity with two years of age and below …
Mt. 2, 13 + 16
daily politics try to reach for the new born king of the Jews. Herod the Great rules. A mighty man. He feels betrayed by visitors from the Orient. He wanted to use them as his unofficial co-workers… They should have become spies for him. But God thwarts him. The astrologers went back home using another route.
But the darkness does not give up so fast and tries to extinguish Jesus the light of life. The evangelist John explains it with the following words in his Gospel: "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (John 1: 5). God's light, the light of life, shines in Bethlehem. The darkness wants to extinguish this light. The evil attacks.
Evil manifests itself in the form of this King Herod. Herod the Great does not tolerate anyone
besides himself. Herod is one of those which Jesus will later refer to, when talking to his disciples: “You know that the rulers in this world are full of despotism and they exercise force over mankind.” (Mathew 20:25)
Historians say: Herod managed to create a shiny façade around himself. He boosted the economy. It was good for his people. Military expenditures were rising, ensuring peace for him and the country. He used and manipulated the religious leaders for his political purposes.
Herod also had a rather relaxed lifestyle. The devout Jews hated him. Herod had no scruples. Whoever stood in his way, was pushed aside. He even didn´t have any reservations to kill his own sons. The Emperor Augustus once said about him “that he would rather be the pig of Herod than his son”!
God knows that Herod will allow hatred and violence to reign free. The darkness wants to extinguish the light of life. Brutally, inhumane, it also kills innocent children.
When we Germans look back into our history, we see huge darkness. Terrible, inhumane things happened in Auschwitz, Majdanek, Treblinka during World War II. The Nazi Rulers murdered six million Jews (Source: Questions to German History 1990, Published by the German Bundestag/ Parliament).
This question causes a huge distress on me: why did God allow this? In our country, but also back in Bethlehem? Could God not have intervened? Didn´t he even need to intervene? Why does God allow evil?
The biblical text doesn´t provide an answer. But the word does tell me that God wants to complete His plan of salvation for all people (including you and me). And no darkness can overturn the light of life, can overwhelm Jesus Christ. Even death could not defeat the Lord Jesus Christ. “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ", the Apostle Paul encourages us to look at Easter in his letter to the church in Corinth.(1 Cor 15:55+57)
God's plan of salvation continues. Although different than I would have imagined. Perhaps sometimes different as I would have liked it. God goes to Egypt. But he does not flee from the darkness. He has his plan with his son Jesus. Jesus Christ will complete his mission on the cross on the hill of Golgotha: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil”(1 John 3:18).
For his plan of salvation, God needs a simple man like Joseph. The one who has an ear and understands what God tells him. The one who follows exactly to what God wants him to do. Josef is the right man at the right time at the right place. God needs these kind of people. Still up today.
Translated by R. Jordan