Flight to Egypt




  1. Students should know the angel Gabriel warned Joseph.
  2. Students should learn that the Holy Family was accompanied in their journey by James, oldest son of Joseph by his previous marriage.
  3. Students should be able to identify Egypt historically and on a map.
  4. Students should name Herod as the king who killed the children of Bethlehem, in fulfillment of prophecy.


Possible Lesson Plan:

1. Open with Prayer.


2. Scripture Reading: Matthew 2:13-23. Who warned Joseph? Who wanted to kill Jesus? Why? Where were Joseph and Mary and Jesus living and where did they go?  Tradition teaches us that Joseph had been married before to Solomonia; he was widowed and had 4 sons and 2 daughters when he married the Theotokos. The eldest of these sons, James, accompanied the Holy Family to Egypt. Why Egypt? At the same time, tradition teaches us that Elizabeth escaped the massacre with the baby John into the wilderness, where the angel of the Lord provided a cave for them and watched over the baby John, and that his father, Zechariah, on being questioned by the soldiers as to where his son was hiding, refused to answer and was killed right in the temple.


3. Discussion questions: Historically what is the importance of Egypt? Review the stories of Joseph and Moses. Symbolism of Jesus also coming out of Egypt? Initiate a map search. Where are the countries: Phoenicia, Egypt, Galilee, Samaria, and Judea? Add in the rivers (Nile and Jordan), lakes (Dead Sea and Sea of Galilee) and the Mediterranean Sea. Where’s Sinai? Now for cities: Find Jerusalem, Jericho, and Bethlehem in Judea; Nazareth and Capernaum in Galilee, Caesarea on the Mediterranean. Retrace the path of Jesus from Annunciation in Nazareth to Bethlehem to Jerusalem (for the Meeting in the Temple), back to Bethlehem, then to Egypt, and finally to Nazareth. For future reference, locate Samaria, Capernaum, and Jericho. Use the maps in your box as illustrations, but have the students mark their own for learning.

Talk a bit about the role of prophecy. Many prophecies were fulfilled in the life of Jesus; God had prepared His people well to recognize the Messiah through the many prophecies in the Old Testament. Can the students name some that have already been fulfilled? (born of a Virgin, born in Bethlehem, of the house of David, seen by Simeon, John’s birth as the forerunner) Read Jeremiah 31:15. How was this prophecy fulfilled?


4. Historical background: Who ruled in Israel? Review the rulers of Israel from the Old Testament – the judges (e.g. Gideon, Samuel), the first king Saul, David, Solomon, and finally the rule of the Babylonians and Persians. Do the students remember the rule of the Greeks, under Antiochus, in the story of Hanukkah. At the time of Jesus, Rome had ruled Israel for 100 years. But, they ruled it with a king – King Herod (the Great???). Herod tried to win the love of the people by rebuilding the temple, but he was hated and feared for his throne. When he died, during Jesus’s childhood, his kingdom was divided among his three sons. This went so badly, that the Romans finally stepped in and, by the time of Jesus’s crucifixion, the land was ruled by a Roman governor, or procurator, named Pontius Pilate. The kings remained as figureheads but were powerless.


5. Play a learning game: Try “hangman”. Write the names of various people from the story on slips of paper. The student draws a slip of paper and then draws a hangman’s noose and lines for each letter of the name. Other students in turn name letters. If the letter is in the name, the student writes it in. If the letter is not in the name, the student draws a part of a stick figure being hanged. Students try to guess the identity of the person before the man is hanged.







6. Add to your time line as before.


7. Close with prayer.