A Christmas Devotional Journey: Week 4

Meredith Flynn —  December 23, 2013

Christmas_bannerWeek 4: Sad prophecy fulfilled

Read Matthew 2:16-18

This is the saddest part of the Christmas story. And for many people, it’s also the most uncomfortable. Some Bibles use as a heading for this passage “slaughter of the innocents.” Why would God allow such a horrible event to follow such a joyful one?

Herod is angered because the Wise Men do not return. He exacts his revenge on Bethlehem. Fearful of being deposed, he seeks to eliminate his replacement. Scholars debate the number of boy babies slain, but given the size of Bethlehem, it is probably between 20 and 40.

Anyone who has lost a loved one knows the anguish of even one death. Multiply that by dozens, and we can only imagine the grief in Bethlehem.
What is God’s point? Look at the tragedy in Bethlehem as a great and pitiful word picture.

God wants us to know that sending His Son into the world is exceedingly joyful and deeply sorrowful. Contrast Christmas morning and Good Friday night: Angels sing as they welcomed his birth; sinners weep at their Savior’s sacrifice.

The joy of our salvation has a high price.

Pray Lord, thank you for sending Jesus. I begin now to understand what it cost him – and You.

Meredith Flynn

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Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.