In this column we venture into one of the great mysteries in the life of Jesus.
Where did Jesus live in Egypt, for how long and what did the family do while there? There are some early writings about the above questions but it is difficult to give solid proof of the places Jesus, Mary and Joseph lived and for how long they were in Egypt.
The one simple and profound truth is that Egypt from where the children of Israel fled was the very place that God chose to provide a ‘safe’ refuge for Jesus. Wow, how glorious is our God.
Many of us at one time or another were enemies of the will of God and are now doing and seeking the will of God.
God had a plan for Egypt in the salvation of the world in Jesus our Lord.
In Bethlehem remember there was no room at the Inn for Jesus and now Herod was seeking to kill the Christ Child Jesus. God used not the Jews but the Egyptians to save Jesus from the blood bath of death that swept Bethlehem.
Many times God uses people we least expect to do mighty things for Him. Glory!
Please read the following:
And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures,
they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod,
they departed for their own country another way.
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”
When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by nigh
and departed for Egypt,
and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under,
according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.
Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:
“A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”
But when Herod was dead,
behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.”
Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.
But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream,
he turned aside into the region of Galilee.
And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled, which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
In this passage of the Bible we have God speaking to Joseph to care for Jesus and Mary. Joseph is obedient to the Angel of the Lord.
They leave by night. This shows the urgency of the revelation of God.
In 1980 I carried the cross from Jerusalem to Cairo, Egypt. One of the places that Jesus is supposed to have stayed is Al-Arish in the Sinai. I carried the cross through there and spent the night before going on into Egypt to Bubastis where Jesus was to have lived. I also spent a night in that city also.
Many in Egypt believe that Jesus with His family was in many cities in Egypt and did miracles there.
There is a church in Egypt dating to just after Pentecost. It is one of the earliest churches in the world. The Coptic Church today has many millions of followers of Jesus in Egypt.
The Family remained in Egypt until the Angel told Joseph to return to Israel. The time that many scholars think Jesus was in Egypt was from one to even six years. I personally think it was four years.
But one point I want to make in this column is that Jesus was a refugee!
Mary, Joseph and Jesus were refugees. Followers of Jesus need to remember that our roots are in refugees and strangers in the land. The children of Israel fled from Egypt and were traveling pilgrims for forty years in the wilderness.Â Jesus was a refugee and knew the taste of being different and a refugee.
Mary the mother of Jesus raised her young Child in a foreign land, in a foreign culture and with people of another language.
Over and over the Bible warns us to be kind and welcoming to strangers and foreigners.
So Jesus was an internationalist at a very young age.
He as a young Boy would have had playmates from another culture and language. On the return trip to Israel across the Sinai desert He would have met many travelers from all over the knownÂ world as this was a well-traveled trade route.
Again, let me point out that Mary faithfully did her job and calling in caring for Jesus even in the worst conditions.
It must have been tough to cross that desert with a one or two year old child. No diapers, no running water, no bed, no air conditioning, no stores to shop in. Yet she was faithful to her calling’¦are you and I?
This round-trip journey would have been at least 700 miles.
Mary pours her time and life into taking care of Jesus. Joseph does his job also and Jesus is taken to Egypt and returned safely to Israel.
Next week we continue with Jesus growing up in Nazareth and going to the Temple.
Pilgrim Followers of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessitt