Saturday, December 22, 2012

Flight Into Egypt

Throughout the Bible we repeatedly find metaphors in which the lands of Babylon and Egypt are symbols of a corrupt and immoral world and the area of Palestine is a Promised Land. In the metaphor God directs people to leave the worldly place and flee to the Promised Land. Thus the Children of Israel left Egypt and made their way to Israel. Abraham left Babylon and made his way to Palestine.

But we find the reverse in the story of the Savior. Jesus was born in the Promised Land, but Joseph and Mary took him into Egypt. And thus a new metaphor is introduced.

"Flight into Egypt" by Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337)
In the story of the flight into Egypt Jesus Christ, who is the God of the Promised Land, flees that Promised Land and travels into the corrupt and immoral world for a time then returns to the Promised Land when the angel calls He and Mary and Joseph back. This is symbolic of the fact that Jesus Christ left his heavenly home with God the Father, but returns to God as soon as His mission is complete.

The Flight into Egypt, then, is symbolic of the fact that Jesus Christ condescended to come into the world and save us from sin (the immoral world) and corruption (death). Because of His birth and His death, angels, prophets, and teachers call us out of the world and lead us into our Promised Land. Just as in all other things, Jesus Christ set the example. You and I can flee this world and obtain a better one. It is the greatest gift anyone has ever given us and it is Jesus Christ that made such a journey possible.

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