- Isaiah 63:7-9
- Matthew 2:19-23
Happy New Year! Today is the first Sunday after Christmas and New Year’s Day.
In today’s text (Isaiah), the prayer begins like a hymn, describing God’s kindnesses, faithful love, and compassion. God’s people looked back what God said, confessed their sins, and asked for a new relationship with the heavenly Father. They prayed to God and praised what God had done for them.
The Lord himself saved people, and His presence and the action of God redeemed His people. God did everything possible for them, redeeming them because he loved the people like a father. He carried them like a child riding his father’s back. (v.7)
Our saviour is not silent. God will transform his people into a righteous individual and community as they confess their sins and ask for a new relationship with the heavenly Father. He will bring salvation to his people and will create a holy, righteous people with His love and compassion. God is mighty to save his people, and he delights in them.
In accordance with verse 9, “In all their distress God too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy, he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.” The Lord was truly merciful, so he rescued his people. God took them in his arms and carried them all those years even though they sinned.
I believe that God will take us in His arms and will rescue and protect us in 2023. When his people suffer distress and anguish, God does, too. Salvation comes only because God loves and has mercy on his people. May we express our trust to God in his plan, no matter how dark the present looks, praise God all year long, and try to make the world brighter in the light of God’s plan and action.
In all God’s plans and actions, Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of all God’s promises to Israel and to us. Matthew uses Hebrew Scripture to emphasize prophetic fulfillment. It is less concerned with “how it
happened” than with “what it means.” Our lives would be more meaningful when we follow God’s will.
People are living in uncertain times, but today’s text shows that God provides protection even in difficult times. God demonstrates God’s providential care in uncertain times. Cruel loss and tragedy have been described in the middle of Matthew 2, but we see a hopeful vision in the way that God protected the Messiah child. May we see the same vision and pray for God to protect each of us even in uncertain times.
In Matthew 2, God acted to protect the Messiah, God’s Son, from the dangers of life in the world. Herod waited to hear from the magi who had come from the east following the star that led to where baby Jesus was. In a dream, however, it was revealed to the magi that they should not go back to Herod but should return to their country by another route. When Herod realized that they had tricked him, he was angry and brought the infant’s tragedy by his order in Bethlehem.
Today’s text shows parenthood being about devotion to a child. Mary and Joseph exemplify this in the way that they manage the threats against baby Jesus and against themselves. God guided baby Jesus through His Word, and Mary and Joseph could protect him who is too young to be able to fend off the trouble that exists in the world through obedience and parenting. In their responsibility of care for Jesus, they are supported by God who is not distant but who speaks and directs them.
God will continue to be the source or the provision of nourishment and care to people. We believe in Jesus, praise the Lord, and need the ongoing presence of God for times of growth and nourishment. Otherwise, we won’t be able to thrive!
An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, instructed Joseph that Herod was seeking to kill the child, and that they were to go to Egypt and stay there until receiving further instructions. The Father’s protection of Jesus in his childhood proves him to be the promised Saviour for all people. Father God protects us in all circumstances.
The point is that God can protect the Messiah from hurt, harm, and danger. In today’s text, God’s protective care and power in uncertain times are revealed. As God protected the Messiah from the threat of death, God will provide protection even in our times of suffering, bad news, social and economic uncertainty. Faithfulness and trust in God will
yield protective care. God will protect us in uncertain times and hide us in his secret places. According to Frank Thomas, the Messiah was looked after, provided for, and placed in an environment where he could be nurtured and grow, even in dangerous and violent circumstances. God will do the same for us.
This story unfolds from the flight to Egypt and the return from the place. Nazareth’s reputation was not good enough in those days. While Jesus grew up in the place, keeping himself from the temptations that surrounded him, he learned how to understand and have compassion on the sick and sinful people around him. His ability to dine with the outcasts did not develop overnight. Although Joseph’s return with his family to Israel may seem chaotic, God had a purpose in every detail.
In God’s plans, we are also called to be renewed in the presence of God and the peace of Christ. God works on his own time schedule, wins the victory, and recreates his people into the faithful community he had planned. He calls us to be the faithful people of faith whom God seeks to perform his mission. Knowing and serving God’s Son in the right way brings unspeakable joy. Even when we cannot celebrate peace on earth, we can celebrate the love of God and the promise of peace. Sometimes the brightest light grows in the darkest place. May we serve the Lord with joy, even during the dark and difficult hours and place our trust inGod’s protective care and timing.
In our new faith journey, I pray our heart shall be filled with joy, and our whole being will be shining in Christ. In 2023, may we lift our eyes and look up to Jesus more and more and appreciate God’s spiritual blessings and providential care.
Thanks be to God! Amen.
(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)