Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Harmony of the Gospels

15. Flight into Egypt- Matt. 2:13-15


-An angel again appears to Joseph supernaturally in a dream urging him to get up and immediately leave for Egypt to remain there until further notice. It was made plain that Herod was seeking the Christ Child’s life, and so Joseph arose with his wife and the Messiah and departed for Egypt that very night before the sun even came up (Matthew 2:14). They remained there until the death of Herod, which fulfilled Hosea’s prophecy that “Out of Egypt I called my Son (Hosea 11:1).” *Application* Here we see Old Testament usage by Matthew to give us a deep understanding and appreciation for prophecy. Just as the New Testament writers viewed the Law and the Prophets in the new revelation light of Jesus Christ, and so should we. This is just one example of the shadows of Christ in the ancient texts given for the hope of Israel and the world (Hebrews 8:5; 10:1). Also notice the immediate response of Joseph to obey and get his all important family out of danger’s way. It is supposed that the gifts of the magi helped to fund this trip and stay in Egypt, which was obviously a foreign land and a new adventure. When God calls, our best response is quick compliance. It could save us our lives!


-Verse to Memorize- Matthew 2:14


16. Massacre of the children in Bethlehem- Matt. 2:16-18


-Herod’s paranoia and lust for power are revealed in his reaction to the finding out that the magi had deceived (literally mocked, ridiculed, tricked, make a fool of) him (Matthew 2:16). He sends his troops and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity from two years and under in fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy (Jeremiah 31:15). The weeping and great mourning heard all the way across the mountainous region to Ramah harkened back even to the days of Rachel, who died in childbirth in this region and had her heart much set on children (Genesis 35:16-18). *Application* It is terribly sad to think about the cruelty that was inflicted on the innocent children surrounding and in the region of Bethlehem by the tyrant Herod. We must always stand up for injustice and the rights of those who cannot defend themselves. I saw a sticker just yesterday urging the stoppage of abortion in our country. We think to ourselves, “how cruel they must have been back in those days to destroy life so cruelly like that,” but we easily forget the untold millions of lives that have been lost now to abortion in our nation and world. Be a defender of weak and innocent (Psalm 82:3, Proverbs 31:9, Isaiah 1:17). Value life!


-Verse to Memorize- Matthew 2:16



17. King Herod dies- Matt. 2:19


-The passing of King Herod was great news for the Messiah’s family. The angel reappeared as promised and God’s salvation plan was continuing along just as predicted by the prophets of old.

-*Application* God is not slow about His promises as some count slowness, but He is patient and gives multiple chances for people to turn to Him in repentance (2 Peter 3:9). I believe God gave Herod every chance He could and time to come to know Him before his death. God has a plan and purpose for everything in the whole context of this world. He is sovereign and has all understanding. In the “fullness of time” is a great concept to contemplate when we read a verse like this one (Galatians 4:4).


-Verse to Memorize- Matthew 2:19


18. Returning to Nazareth- Matt. 2:19-23


-Joseph is reluctant to go back into Israel because Herod’s son Archelaus was reigning, but God warned him and once again he obeyed the Lord. The family left Egypt and ventured to the region of Galilee and settled back in their original hometown of Nazareth, which once again fulfilled the prophets word that “He shall be called a Nazarene (Isaiah 11:1. The word there is Netzar, which signifies either a branch, or the city of Nazareth; in being denominated from that city, he is declared to be that Branch).” This region was much more calm politically than other regions of Israel at the time. Philip was ruling in this region and was much more docile than Archelaus in Judea. Although Joseph was probably under the assumption, from his limited understanding of the Messiah’s life and work, that they would be in or near Jerusalem, God had other plans and somewhat secluded His Son for His upbringing and the bulk of His earthly ministry.

-*Application* Don’t despise the little things (Luke 16:10). Our lives at times can feel mundane, uncomplicated, and even boring. We yearn to do more and dream of extravagance and greatness even in Kingdom work. We must always remember God’s plan is higher than ours and let Him form and shape us just as He desires. The Messiah’s life is even reflective of that fact when we closely observe the Scriptures. Jesus lived a normal life for all we know until the age of 30 when His public ministry began. The preparation is important; allow the Lord to work in you even on the most normal of days.


-Verse to Memorize- Matthew 2:23

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