By Another Route

Stan Mast

READ : Matthew 2:12-15

They returned to their country by another route. (v. 12 NIV)

So the story of Jesus’ birth ends. In that story, God came to people where they least expected him: at the end of their rope, in broken dreams, where there was no room, in the presence of enemies. Hopefully, you’ve seen God has come to you where you least expected him.

Now what do you do? Do as the Magi, and return to your home by another route. They couldn’t go back the way they came because wicked Herod literally blocked that path. Is this phrase also symbolic? Had they been changed by their encounter with God’s unexpected grace, so that they now walked a different road?

Even if that is pure speculation, it does prompt a personal question. How has your encounter with God’s unexpected grace changed you? Where do you need to change your route in life?

Jesus’ escape from Herod to Egypt reminded me of 1 Cor-inthians 10:13. “But when you are tempted, [God] will also provide a way out.” Jesus’ way out was most unexpected; it was back through the wilderness to Israel’s old “house of bondage.” But then, that’s God for you, giving grace in unexpected ways. Thank God that there is a new way for us to get home. But be prepared for an unexpected exit, an unanticipated U-turn, a surprising new walk with God.


“O for a closer walk with God, a calm and heavenly frame, a light to shine upon the road that leads me to the Lamb.” Amen.