There is a forgotten connection between the stories of Jesus’ birth and death. It is a link between the journey of the wise men in Matthew’s gospel and the events between Palm Sunday and the Resurrection.
At the conclusion of the Magi’s visit to the Holy Family, Matthew tells us they are warned (in a dream) not to return to Herod. So, as Matthew 2:12 says, “they left for the own country by another way”.
The wise men went home by another way. Jesus, for all the pain he’ll suffer and explanation we’ll offer, is also returning home by a different path. This isn’t our exit strategy. We design grand plans revolution and regime change. We will subvert Herod by becoming Herod. Rome will be overthrown and we will replace Rome. Our ideas include detailed reports on numbers of wounded combatants, civilian casualties, and pacification projects. Our way needs a budget of at least thirty pieces of silver. When the truth is told, we don’t have a way home. It’s never safe to come home. So we stay, right where we are.
However, when the time came, Jesus chose to return home by a different way. Despite our plans, ideas, and strategies; there is another way home.
The road home ran through an empty grave, Galilee, and countless places in between. The road home runs by you, your house, church, and the world around you. The Resurrection is still on the way home, via that other way, right now. We don’t have to opt for the grand design, as alluring as it may be. Like Jesus, the wise men, and others who’ve gone before us. We can get up and go home by another way. It is the “other” in another that will make all the difference in the world.
Richard Lowell Bryant