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The Journal

Jesus was a Refugee

REV DAVID O'MARA

Dear Friends,

 Christmas is over and the joy and excitement of the new baby Jesus gives way to the horror of Herod murdering all the children 2 years and under in Bethlehem – Matthew 2:13-23. Herod was King of Judea and Samaria at the time of Jesus’ birth. He ruled by force and got rid of any opposition. We learn from history that he murdered 2 of his sons and his wife and many others.

Herod was threatened by Jesus’ kingship and the same attitude holds today amongst many people who do not want Jesus in control of their life. We may not murder others to get rid of Jesus but we can ignore His Word, resist fellowshipping with His people and many other ways of asserting that we are “little Herods” who also get rid of Jesus. Herod was very unwise because the Kingship of Jesus in our lives brings freedom, joy and peace. Joseph warned by God in a dream takes His family to Egypt to escape Herod’s murderous intent. In effect Jesus is a political and religious refugee who has to flee his country because of persecution. Next year we will see 12000 Syrian refugees come to Australia and as a church we will welcome them. As a church we will welcome all people regardless of their religion or race but we must not forget that the situation of Christians is most dire. There are 1.1 million Christians in Syria who have lived as a minority. But with the rise of ISIS the persecution of Christians has increased as we have seen in the media and even when they flee to refugee camps they are persecuted by Muslims in those refugee camps. Christian refugees from Syria represent one of the most persecuted minorities in Syria. Please pray for our Christian brothers and sisters who are being targeted by radical Muslims and give to organisations like the Barnabas Fund and Anglican Aid which seek to support Christians suffering and has rescued many. The story of Herod reminds us of the hate which people can have to Jesus and His followers. But despite this evil directed against Him Jesus grows up and goes to the Cross to show love in the face of hate and offer forgiveness of sins through his death on the Cross.Jesus’ love is stronger than hate. May God pour out His Spirit and turn many from the way of hate to the way of Jesus – love !

God’s richest blessing Rev David O’Mara (minister@allsouls.net.au)