Going Deeper 12-27-19

The Gospel reading for Christmas 1...

Matthew 2:13-23  13 Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." 14 Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, "Out of Egypt I have called my son." 16 When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: 18 "A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more." 19 When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, 20 "Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child's life are dead." 21 Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. 23 There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, "He will be called a Nazorean."

 

"Out of Egypt I have called my son."  And here goes Matthew once again, pulling a text from an Old Testament prophecy and applying it to Jesus.  This time he draws from Hosea 11:1.  Here is the second verse: “But the more they were called, the more they went away from me.”  Hosea had in mind the downfall of Israel, the nation God had adopted in order to bring a blessing to the nations, as promised to and through Abraham.  But that son of God proved to be self-centered, forgetful, and rebellious.  They did not accomplish their mission.

 

In Matthew, God is now calling a second Son out of Egypt, where he and his family had to flee from a jealous king determined to kill God’s Son… just like the Pharaoh of Exodus.  This Son will also pass through the waters, but in this case the waters of John’s baptism.  Also, just like Israel of old, this Son of God will spend time in the wilderness… only 40 days instead of years.  And then this Son will gather people around a mountain and give a sermon about how they are to live as God’s people.  The parallels are not incidental.

 

Unlike Israel, Jesus (referred to by some as “Israel reduced to one”) will accomplish His mission.  Through this descendant of Abraham (see Matthew 1:1- ) the promise to Abraham will finally be fulfilled.  All the nations of the world (perhaps the meaning of Matthew’s story of the Magi) will be blessed.  The Son of God will not be self-centered, but self-sacrificing and centered on serving.  This Son will not forget His calling, even when it gets excruciatingly painful.  This Son of God will serve unto death, even death on a cross.

 

Merry Christmas!  I hope we all appreciate our Gift!

 

In His Love,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."