The familiar events directly after Jesus’ birth. Wise men, slaughter of innocents, flight to Egypt, settling in Nazareth. Each event methodically linked to a prophesy it fulfills. Piling up an overwhelming case that Jesus is Messiah.
The interplay of agency and prophesy reminded me of exodus, where Pharaoh’s refusal to let the people go virtually alternates between “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart” and”Pharaoh hardened his heart”.
The very strange visit of wise men happened in order to fulfill the prophesy, but Herod’s unspeakably cruel slaughter of the innocents was simply prophesied. Herod owns it.
The plot mechanics are very visible, but in this story Deus ex machina is literal. For me the Egypt loop has always been a tipping point. I mentioned yesterday the absence of an exodus pillar in the genealogy. How could I forget! There’s just so much in here. Like a checklist.
But Jesus’ birth is a messy disaster too. On the run, born into oppression and the worst political persecution, refugees, having to live in the boondocks. And kings of the Orient, with expensive gifts.
Like yesterday, where the royal bloodlines were blurred by grace, the promises of the conquering Messiah are undercut with humility and marginalisation.
I’m exhausted, yet stable, as I read this. We’ve had a recovering child on crutches and a big party to stage. I’ve been forgetting to enjoy life, succumbing to stress and unconfidence. Some great things have been happening this year.
God works with mess, just be trusting and obedient. Commit. Wholehearted.