Scripture: Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, 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.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” Matthew 2:13-15 ESV
Observation: Having visited the baby Jesus, the Magi take an alternate route to their homeland after being warned in a dream to stay away from Herod. In the next scene, an angel of the Lord commands Joseph in a dream to make haste and flee with his family to Egypt, marking the third dream in these first two chapters and the second time an angel speaks directly to Joseph. Without delay, Joseph begins the seventy-mile journey to Egypt’s border under the cloak of darkness with the bank of the wise men’s gifts. Once safely outside Herod’s jurisdiction, they settle in this neighboring country under Roman rule. Matthew, focusing on proving that Jesus fulfilled the Messianic prophecies, then adds a quote from the second half of Hosea 11:1, “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son“ (ESV).
Of note, while Hosea referred to Israel as a child, theologian D.A. Carson rightfully contends that for Matthew, Jesus is “the locus of true Israel” and thus sees Hosea’s prophetic word fulfilled in Christ (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew).
Takeaway: Undoubtably, Jesus is the embodiment of Israel, for the Son of God fulfills all that the Father intended for his chosen people:
- He, like Jacob’s clan, finds refuge in Egypt.
- He, like Moses, here’s the voice of Yahweh to lead his people out of Egypt to an eternal Promised Land.
- He is the Passover Lamb.
- He fulfills the Abrahamic promise (producing children of faith as numerous as the stars) and the Mosaic Law to the last jot and tittle.
And yet, this vulnerable Christ-child, like Moses, will need the aid of his human family to escape a wicked ruler’s orders to execute all infant males (tomorrow’s Daily Focus), all the while his heavenly Father is orchestrating his protection and care.
So how does this text apply to us? The One who embodies his people dwells in us and calls us out of our Egypt, providing aid from others. As the apostle Paul contends:
- “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20a ESV).
- “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27 ESV).
Along with several other references that Paul and Peter make regarding this intimate relationship of Christ in us (and we in Christ), we can understand that the Locus of Israel is the cornerstone of all God’s children of faith. And just as the Father guided his Son’s steps to repeatedly avoid the murderous plots of evil men until the appointed time with the aid of the Holy Spirit, so will his Holy Spirit direct our paths with the assistance of other believers. And as we encounter persecution and suffering along the way, his Holy Spirit will put our selfish habits to death and resurrect us to a new and godly manner of life in preparation for an eternity with him free from sin. For the Locus of all children of faith has called us out of our Egypts of slavery to sin to freedom in his hope of glory, where we will one day see him face to face.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for sending your Son to call us out of bondage to sin into the riches of your glory and grace. So would you please help us cooperate with your Holy Spirit, who guides us with the aid of other believers from sin’s destructive consequences to respites of restoration and renewal in your Son’s hope of glory? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling