Jesus Evades The Enemy
JESUS EVADES THE ENEMY
Created by: GOD
And written by the Holy Spirit through His vessel:
Pointing toward a star, the noble pilgrim halted his camel, going completely still as he sucked in a quick breath. His eyes focused hard on the astronomical object, which glowed so intensely it had him transfixed. It was then he immediately knew, as did the other two men who were travelling along with him.
“The King! He has been born!”
Speaking these words in a breathless tone, was one of the Magi. Eyes widened, he gaped at the star, and a euphoric feeling overcame him at just the thought of the newborn child. Casting a silvery glow on all three of the Magi, they stared heavenward at the star, which dazzlingly twinkled in the Eastern night sky. An overwhelming divinity could be felt as they stared hard at it, and following in its direction, they were led by its light. Travelling east, they headed toward Jerusalem, each mounted on camel as they made their journey.
Far from easy, it took many months, with even the camels growing weary as miles elapsed as the wise men went on. Eager to see He who was born as King of the Jews, the Magi followed the star as it led them, travelling by night so they could be guided by the one who kept their path lit.
As they made their faithful pilgrimage, none complained nor regretted the journey. For paying homage to the one whom the star belonged to, far surpassed any temporary discomforts. Twenty-four months passed before they finally came over the hills which surrounded Jerusalem, and on entering the city went immediately to Herod. On reaching the king they spoke, excitement lacing their words as they communicated in his palace.
“Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.”
Regarding the three wise men who stood before him, Herod the king lifted his brows, as the three pilgrims before him were timeworn. Clearly they had come from far away, as their capes were less than fresh looking, and the conical headdresses they donned showed signs of being worn down by the elements.
“We’ve travelled many roads and struggled along mountain passes,” spoke the magi who stood in the middle. “So we must find this newborn king, that way we can honor and worship him.”
Adopting a sullen look, Herod felt his stomach harden, as surely there could not be another come to take his place? And a child, at that? Who could this be that these three men spoke of?”
“I know not of any such child,” Herod said, and gesturing to one of his servants, made it clear he wished to have some words.
The three wise men watched as Herod the king spoke in private with a lowered tone, and as the servant hurried off at Herod’s request, one of the Magi inquired of Herod.
“If you know not of this newborn king and where his birthplace is, who does?”
“The chief priests and scribes,” Herod replied, and it was then they began to approach, all in a group as they came to Herod.
Eyes glowing in eagerness the Magi waited, looking to the chief priests and scribes for their much-needed answer. Turning to them, Herod inquired of this newborn king’s location.
“Tell me,” Herod began, tone stern and posture tense as he spoke more words. “Where is this Christ, who should be born?”
“In Bethlehem.” The scribe who spoke up, unrolled the scroll which was in his hands, pronouncing every word which was written upon it. “For thus it is written by the prophet, Micah: ‘And thou Bethlehem, in the land princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.’
Not liking what he had heard, Herod’s brows drew tightly together, and with bitterness in his spirit, shifted his attention from the scribe to the wise men. Mouth dry with apprehension, Herod now inquired of them.
“You must tell me, what time was it, that the star appeared before you during your travels?”
“It was twenty and four months ago,” replied one of the Magi. “As soon as we saw it, we set out to trace its path, and ended up here.”
“Then make your way now to Bethlehem,” Herod gruffly replied. “Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.”
Departing on those words, the three wise men made their way to Bethlehem, and as night fell upon the city, the star appeared and began to lead them. It was a few hours later when the star suddenly shifted, and seeing the location where it now hovered, the Magi followed it up to that very point. Knowing this destination was the house where the newborn king was, each Magi lowered himself from their camel.
Little more than a square, stone structure that was humbly small, this dwelling they arrived at gave off a pure and divine energy. Undoubtedly the house where this King child was, the wise men felt a lightness come into their limbs.
Each had a wide grin on their face, eyes gleaming with amazement as they shared hugs of exuberancy at having finally reached this young and most divine child. Speaking excitedly they gathered their gifts, offering loud praises to the Lord for leading them to this King of the Jews. Adrenaline rushed through their veins as they walked to the door, and with upturned faces, knocked on the door with three gentle and polite knocks.
As the barrier swung back, a man was revealed, and knowing that these visitors were wise men, he allowed them to enter. Known by the name of Joseph, the man of this house was dressed in a tunic, with robe overlaying it which was drawn in with a belt.
Understanding that this was the man to whom the mother of Jesus was espoused, the Magi nodded in respect, then took off their sandals before entering the dwelling. As Joseph led the way, these men from the East all followed, where they were taken to a young woman who sat with child.
Relaxing on a thin mattress which was stuffed with wool, she gazed up at the Magi, who openly gaped at the male toddler whom she held. Falling immediately to their knees, the three wise men began to worship him, faces pressed to the ground in reverence as they cried out to the Lord with great appreciation. Filled with gratitude and overflowing with joy, the Magi spoke excitedly to the male child, with noses still pressed to the ground as they extolled his presence.
“How great is the Lord, most worthy of praise!” One of the wise men enthusiastically proclaimed.
“There is no one like you, O Lord!” praised another. “Your name is great, how powerful you are!”
As the woman, who was named Mary, held onto this child of the Holy Ghost, she watched on in complete stillness. Knowing full well who her son Jesus was, and from whom he had been sent, she tenderly held him in her arms. Now at the age of two years old, he was maintaining a healthy weight. Having always possessed a sweet disposition, he had a dignified and calm way about him.
Even now, as these three men remained humbly bowed before him, Jesus regarded them with a gentle look. It seemed that even at his young age, he knew exactly what they were there for, and that he fully understood the magnitude of his presence on the earth. And yet he remained serene and collected, just comfortably sitting on Mary’s lap as the Magi presented what they had brought.
“King of heaven and earth, we have brought you some gifts.”
Hands shaking with excitement, as well as a deep and solemn respect, one of the Magi undid the drawstrings of a bulging pouch he’d brought along. Fashioned from linen, it was filled to the brim, and as the pouch was emptied, fat nuggets of gold were presented before Jesus.
As it lay in a small pile before the divine child, he looked on with relaxed features. Clearly appreciating the gift, the Magi could feel that Jesus approved. And yet it also was clear, that the presence of this precious metal didn’t excite the child in the way that it would a common man.
Next to present a gift, was a wise man who had brought frankincense. Laid out on a silk cloth, the aromatic resin gave off a pleasant odor, and the wise men could see from the way that Jesus leaned slightly forward in his mother’s arms, that the scent was very pleasant to his nose.
The grin that the wise men all wore just couldn’t be contained, as it put great warmth in their hearts that this child King was approving of the gift. Next to be put on display was myrrh, which gave off a woody and slightly medicinal smell.
Just as Mary silently observed, so did her husband Joseph, who stood next to her with a hand resting lovingly on her shoulder. A soft smile was at his lips, and every now and again he’d look to the child, observing his reaction to what these men from the East had brought. He could see that the young boy was well pleased, and eyes glistening with tears at the divine atmosphere which pervaded his house, Joseph felt a thickness come into his throat.
Warmth expanding through his chest, he felt a love for the boy that just couldn’t be described. And as the Magi continued to revere this Holy child, Joseph watched on with warm, tear-filled eyes.
* * * *
“How beautiful He was!” Spoke one of the Magi as they left the house.
“Did you see the way He reacted when I presented the frankincense?” Asked the second wise man. “It’s fragrance was clearly most pleasing to Him!”
“Every gift that we gave was good,” said the third wise man. “But the gift that He gave us, was much better than anything we could ever hope to offer.”
All nodding at this, they entered a structure which was built behind the dwelling they had just been in. A barn which housed the animals, it was well kept up, and after creating makeshift beds of hay, all three of the Magi relaxed their bodies. Still overly excited it was difficult for them to sleep. But as slumber did arrive, they peacefully went into it.
* * * *
The silvery light of the moon shone softly into the barn, waking the wise men with a peaceful gentleness. Yet as each came full awake, they immediately remembered having a dream. And eager to tell the other, they began to share what God had shown them.
“We must not return to Herod,” one of the wise men said. “I have just woken from a dream that has warned us to go straight home.”
“I had the same dream!” The second wise man exclaimed. “God showed me that Herod is not to be trusted.”
“As did I!” The third wise man regarded the other two with awe-filled eyes. “We will not go to Herod to report on the heavenly child, but immediately go back to our own country, as God has told us.”
Completely in agreement, the Magi started off immediately, strapping sandals on quickly before exiting the barn and getting onto their camels. They then departed with quickness into the night, heading off toward their own country in a different way from which they’d first come.
* * * *
As the wise men were departing beneath moonlight, Joseph was asleep and having a dream. This was when an angel of the Lord appeared to him, and speaking to his spirit, the angel gave him these words:
“Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.”
It was after these words were given, that Joseph came awake. Lying on a mattress stuffed with wool, he slowly rose up. He then looked to the young child who slept soundly next to Mary, and placing hand to her shoulder, gently shook her awake. Gradually she was roused from slumber, and as her lashes fluttered open she saw her husband, who looked down at her with a serious stare.
“We must go now, and take the child into Egypt. “
“Why?” Lifting head from her pillow which was cloth stuffed with wool, she gave him a slack expression.
“Because I have just had a dream, where an angel of the Lord appeareth to me. He said we must flee, for Herod seeks to destroy the young child.”
Remembering very well how her husband had received dreams before from the Lord’s angels, she immediately rose from their sleeping area. She covered her head with a shawl in preparation of going out into the night, then lifted Jesus into her arms, along with a piece of linen which served as his blanket.
Having quickly filled a sack with bread and raisins, Joseph then filled a clay jug with water, before nodding to Mary that it was time to depart. With baby Jesus in her arms she was ready, and leaving the house with not one look behind them, headed off and into the night. Although it was highly unusual for them to travel with the moon still out and the sky still dark, Mary completely understood, as dreams from the Lord were not to be taken lightly. She also understood that her son Jesus was a divine child, so as his Father directed they must always do.
With Joseph by her side and her precious baby boy in her arms, Mary kept up a steady pace. Both knew there wasn’t time to waste, and yet neither was in a panic, either. They knew all would be okay as they were following the Lord’s orders, and keeping straight on their path, continued on toward Egypt. Knowing that God himself was doing the directing, put a peace deep inside both Mary and Joseph that surpassed all understanding. And cuddled up safely against his mother’s soft, warm bosom, the young child named Jesus rested comfortably in her arms. The moon hung high as they continued their journey, giving off its light as they made their journey.
* * * *
It was just after dawn when Herod received word of the wise men departing. Yet on hearing the words as it came from the mouth of one of his servants, his face immediately blanched and he went very still.
“You bring me these words but I do not believe them,” he said. “The Magi departed, and I was not informed?”
“We were not aware, my king.” Posture tense, the servant rapidly blinked. “Was it not your word that sent them away?”
“Of course it was not my word!” His deep voice boomed. “Did you not stand beside me, as I demanded them to return to me, with word about the young child?”
“I did.” The servant firmly nodded.
“Then you should know, that it was not I who sent them away.”
Sitting before a breakfast of boiled eggs and salted bread, along with yogurt, honey and raw milk, Herod felt his appetite immediately dry up. Nostrils flaring, he stood to his feet, and marching off in a huff, prepared to give orders to his men in waiting. In mere moments he had gathered them up, and standing before them with heat flushing through his body, shouted orders as they keenly listened.
“All children in Bethlehem, two years and younger are to be slayed. Leave not even the coasts untouched, as I expect all to be taken care of.”
Grinding his teeth, Herod then waved his arm in a dismissive way, and as his men went off, he angrily watched. Expression tense, he felt his heartbeat pounding, and fantasizing in his head, began to imagine the young child’s death. It would be done, he was certain of it, and as his men marched off with swords already drawn, Herod glared after them with cold, flinty eyes.
* * * *
Fashioned from field stones held together with clay mortar, the tiny one-room house was located peacefully on a small hill. Built on the foundation of a rock, it was solidly built, and made to withstand any type of weather which came through. Sleeping within the walls of this dwelling were three – a young child named Jesus, his mother Mary, and her husband Joseph.
Made of straw, the roof held solidly above them, shielding the family from the cool night air. Joseph, who was having a dream, slept very deep. And as an angel of the Lord appeared to him, he heard him speak. As the words came from the angel Joseph’s ears perked up, his spirit attentively taking in every word of this divine messenger.
“Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.”
No sooner had these words been spoken, did Joseph wake up, and head rising from the pillow, reached out his hand to touch Mary’s shoulder.
“Mary, wake up.” Rousing her gently, he waited for her eyes to come fully open.
“Joseph?” Tone laden with drowsiness she slowly came awake, taking a few moments to focus on his face before speaking again. “What is it, my husband?”
“We are to leave immediately,” he excitedly said, and as her head lifted from the pillow, he gave her a gentle kiss on the lips. “And angel of the Lord came to me again. He says we must go to Israel, as Herod is now dead!”
Brows lifting at this, she almost couldn’t believe the words he’d just spoken. But knowing that God had often spoken to her husband in his dreams, she could be most assured that the words were most indeed true.
“This is wonderful news!” She replied, and immediately reached for the young child, who’d been peacefully sleeping just right beside her. “I will prepare Jesus, as we have a week of travel ahead of us.”
While Joseph gathered the food and water for their trip, Mary woke up her son, then ensured he was properly clothed in garments which would keep him well-protected from the elements. When she got to his sandals, she made certain they were firmly strapped on, then taking a moment she spoke to him. Now aged five, he was able to walk, and resting on her knees so she was eye-to-eye with him, she softly smiled.
“We must make a journey,” she told him. “Into Israel, which will be our home. We will be safe there, my son. And taken well care of by your Father.”
Eyes filled with a brightness that drew everyone in, Jesus nodded at his mother’s words, as he knew in his spirit just what was going on. Still slightly drowsy he rubbed his eyes a few times, but his softened features implied he was calm. Knowing full well of her boy’s divinity, she could feel his serenity wash over her like a balm, and taking his hand into hers she then rose to her feet.
Just as when they’d left Bethlehem toward Egypt, they made their way with a sense of calmness, as they fully understood who it was that was guiding them. Their Lord, their Creator in heaven, and the Father of Jesus who walked right alongside them as they left the house.
Knowing her son needed rest periodically, Mary sometimes carried him so his feet wouldn’t get too tired. But Jesus was able to walk longer periods that she expected, and unsurprisingly, the boy was most unbothered by this sudden and most unplanned trek. Rather than be stressed or tense during their journey, he observed everything as they walked, checking out their surroundings with a wide-eyed and curious gaze. And yet there was also a wiseness in the way that he saw things, as if rather than just simply looking, he was also studying things on a much deeper level. A spiritual level, and Mary knew this, which made her wish she could see things in the exact way that her son did.
As days elapsed they continued on, until finally reaching Egypt after a full week of walking. On arrival there came word to them, about Herod’s son, who was named Archelaus. Learning that Archelaus reigned in Judea, Joseph felt uneasy about going any further in that direction. And after receiving direction from God in a dream, led his wife and her son to Galilee. A fertile, mountainous region, it had plenty of rocky terrain, in which homes had been built into. They travelled further into lower Galilee until reaching the town of Nazareth, and knowing this was the place, it was where Joseph settled them.
And this was the spot which God had ordained for his son Jesus, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.