V13 – ‘When they had gone’ – that same night?
Whatever happened to the gold, frankincense and myrrh?
Three places – three prophecies. Not always 1:1 prediction/fulfilment (cf. Mt 2:5/Mic 5:2); they are more like ‘patterns’.
1. Egypt – a place of rescue
Border about 75 miles away. Many Jews living there.
V15 – ‘And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”’ (Hos 11:1)
Hos 11:1 not a prediction, but a glance back to the Exodus. ‘My son’ = ‘Israel’. 1300 BC
A new Moses, a renewed Israel, a new law, a new exodus.
Lk 9:30f ‘Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendour, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfilment at Jerusalem.’
A God of new beginnings.
2. Bethlehem – a place of hope
That’s where they intended to return, v22.
V15 – In keeping with the known character of Herod. Constantly suspecting treachery, he killed his wife, three sons, and a number of other relatives.
V17f ‘Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”’
Jer 31:15 – 600 BC. Rachel ‘weeping in her grave’ because of the loss of all her ‘children’: all ten of the northern tribes (Judah) had already been taken off into exile and the two southern tribes (Israel) were about to suffer the same fate. For Matthew, she personifies the mothers who now weep over this new calamity that has come upon Israel’s children.
Jer 31:15 is set in a context of hope.
3 Jn 1:2 – ‘Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you.’
For some of us, the coming year will bring sorrow, loss, tragedy. Oftentimes, God’s people have cried out, not only, ‘How long, Lord?’ but ‘Why, Lord’. But what we can expect is to find strength, confidence, and hope.
Dan 3:17f “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us…But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Jn 16:33 “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Rom 8:32 ‘He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?’
3. Nazareth – a place of lowliness
Mary and Joseph originally came from Nazareth. Travelled to Bethlehem for the census. They had evidently thought to settle in their ancestral homeland.
But it was not in Bethlehem in Judea, the town of David, that Jesus was raised, but Nazareth in Galilee.
V23 – ‘So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.”’ – where’s that in the OT?
Jn 7:52 “Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.”
Jn 1:46 – “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?”
Acts 24:5 – “a ringleader of the Nazarene sect.”
What we have in the OT is not the word ‘Nazarene’, but a theme: the Messiah as lowly, as contemptible, esp. Isa 53:2,3. But tied in with the theme of lowliness, rejection, and suffering is the theme of redemption.
Like master, like servant, Phil 2. ‘Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!’
Let’s step into the coming year experiencing Christ’s rescue, living in Christ’s hope, sharing in Christ’s lowliness.