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A safe boyhood home for Jesus

July 11, 2023

Daily Scripture

Matthew 2:13-14, 19-23; Luke 2:51-52

Matthew 2
13 When the magi had departed, an angel from the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up. Take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod will soon search for the child in order to kill him.” 14 Joseph got up and, during the night, took the child and his mother to Egypt.

19 After King Herod died, an angel from the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. 20 “Get up,” the angel said, “and take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel. Those who were trying to kill the child are dead.” 21 Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus ruled over Judea in place of his father Herod, Joseph was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he went to the area of Galilee. 23 He settled in a city called Nazareth so that what was spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled: He will be called a Nazarene.

Luke 2
51 Jesus went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. His mother cherished every word in her heart. 52 Jesus matured in wisdom and years, and in favor with God and with people.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Pastor Hamilton wrote about the story of Jesus’ birth, “Unlike Mary, Joseph has no ‘lines’—we don’t read a single word he speaks in the Gospels.” * Yet Jesus’ earthly father did much more than stand by the manger as shepherds worshipped baby Jesus. Joseph’s prompt obedience to a God-given dream saved Mary and baby Jesus from King Herod’s paranoid violence. When back from Egypt, Joseph chose the safety of obscure Nazareth in Galilee over his town of Bethlehem, minutes from Jerusalem.

  • Joseph surely didn’t do whatever he dreamed about every day. Yet promptly obeying the dreams Matthew recorded was a life-and-death matter. How can you discern which thoughts, dreams or “inner nudges” are from God? (Books like Dallas Willard’s Hearing God and Adam Hamilton’s Why? offer in-depth insights into that question.) Does seeing that Joseph, Mary and Jesus were refugees from political violence affect how you see today’s often-heated refugee issues?
  • Archelaus (verse 22)—who’s he? He was a son of Herod the Great and ruled the southern part of Herod’s kingdom (including Bethlehem) after Herod died. Archelaus had 3,000 people who were protesting the start of his reign slaughtered. Luke’s peaceful account of life in Nazareth contrasted sharply with Herod’s and Archelaus’ violence. Did you grow up in a relatively peaceful setting, or not? If not, what has helped you heal the wounds that setting may have left?

Loving Lord, like your people of old, you came out of Egypt, thanks to your vigilant, obedient parents. Help me know how to mix wisdom and compassion in welcoming strangers in your name. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Jaime Kernaghan

Jaime Kernaghan

Jaime Kernaghan is the Small Group Specialist at Resurrection Leawood. She previously worked as Praise & Worship Coordinator with Resurrection Kids. Jaime has an undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas in Sociology, with a minor in Psychology, and an M.S. Degree from Friends University; she is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Jaime is passionate about her work in connecting people. Outside work she enjoys time with family, friends and her foster son, as well as her two dogs, and her cat-dog. Jaime loves yoga, reading, writing, hammocking and time at the lake. 

While writing this GPS Insight, I considered what “safety” means. I think of Joseph and Mary fleeing with Jesus to a place that felt secure in the midst of rulers who were couldn’t be trusted, their best attempt to protect their beloved child. What fear they must have experienced.

It made me think of my safest place growing up, the lake. From when I was 7 years old, we spent summers, and various other times of year, at the lake. It is where I held my first job, had my first crush, and spent hours just sitting near the water, contemplating life, considering dreams, and making plans. Little did I know my future plans would take a turn from a call I received from God to become a foster parent. It was always in the back of my mind to foster, as my dad was adopted. Through my work with families and the court system over the years, I knew the need for foster/adoptive families. Still, as a single woman, the thought terrified me.

One night I saw an announcement at church about an information session around fostering children, and I signed up. Here I am, a year and a half in, with my five-year-old foster son. He has changed my life, my heart, and my definition of safety. He has taught me the importance of showing up, patience (which I am still working on), and that true safety is being able to seek comfort in those you love and trust the most. A year and a half ago this little boy was brought to my door, afraid, uncertain and untrusting. He has grown exponentially. This is partly due to the consistency and care of his teachers at Overland Park Early Learning Center, as well as the village that surrounds him each Sunday, and often Wednesday nights, at Resurrection Leawood. It is also due to those who comfort us, those who surround us with support, love and the ultimate feeling of safety.

May we continue to show wisdom and compassion in welcoming strangers. We may find they open our hearts more than we ever could have imaged and teach us things we can only learn from those we don’t yet know. I pray you are able to open your heart, mind and spirit to the call God has in store for you.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Adam Hamilton, The Journey: A Season of Reflections. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2011, p. 45.