Monday, December 21
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 2:13-23 is not a typical passage that we focus on at Christmas. Matthew sees it as very important, though, so he includes it in his telling of the Christmas story. We will consider what God has to teach us as we approach Christmas Day.
As Matthew sets the scene, the Wise Men had just departed to go home another way, because of a warning in a dream. Probably the very next day or night God warned Joseph in a similar way. Joseph and Mary were rightly afraid, and they fled to Egypt during the night to protect the Christ Child.
Sinful Herod was used by our enemy to try to defeat God’s plan by trying to kill Jesus, as we will see even more fully tomorrow as we look at the next few verses. Jesus would eventually grow to adulthood and die for our sins. God would win, not Satan. At this point, though, the baby Jesus needed to grow into a man to live a sinless life before he died a sacrificial death for our sins.
It is significant that the family ran to Egypt, because that illustrates how God foreshadowed the events of Matthew 2 in the Old Testament exodus from Egypt, according to Douglas Sean O’Donnell. Israel itself in the Old Testament was called God’s son. Hosea 11:1, quoted partially above, reads this way: When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. God loved his people as a son, and he continues to love us as a son, in and through his one and only Son.
Jesus is the one and only Son who embodies the relationship the Father has with his children. Just as God called Israel his children out of Egypt, so he called his Son out of Egypt in this event. Jesus is the ultimate story of God bringing his people out of captivity into his promised land of a relationship with God and life with him forever. Thank you God for your rescue plan!