“And he shall be their peace”

From today’s reading of Matthew 2 and Luke 2:39-52

Matthew 2 is not a peaceful chapter. It describes the paranoia of King Herod “the great”, the flight of Jesus’ family to Egypt, and the subsequent slaughter of the youngest children of Bethlehem.

This record of the early life of Jesus already begins to demonstrate the strife and murderous foolishness that attends those who are “kings” in this life when the King of kings has come to claim ownership. The great bringing low of the mighty and raising up of the humble has already begun. Strongholds will be cast down.

But not without a fight.

Matthew records the fulfillment of a prophecy from Micah 5, by quoting this portion of it:

“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’” – Matthew 2:6

I took a look at the fuller context of the quoted passage, which is below:

Now muster your troops, O daughter of troops;
siege is laid against us;
with a rod they strike the judge of Israel on the cheek.
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time
when she who is in labor has given birth;
then the rest of his brothers shall return
to the people of Israel.
And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD,
in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.
And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth.
And he shall be their peace.
-Micah 5:1-5

Little Bethlehem, humble, somewhat of a backwater. From you has come this One we call Jesus, ancient of days, the great Shepherd, majestic to the ends of the earth, who has become our peace.

All the Herods of this world can rage and scheme and murder, but they will not prevail. Their evil, though devastating in their moment, is temporary. “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.” They will wage war to no avail; the Prince of peace has come, humble and born in humility, born of humble parents in a humble town, King of kings, Shepherd of his flock to the ends of the earth, mighty to save.

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