The Weekend Word
13 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.”
- When the Magi had departed from Jesus’ house.
- An angel appears … in a dream. Why a dream? – why not in person as in other times?
- It happened to Peter when he was trying to get some sleep up on the rooftop in Joppa. And it’s happened time and time again. It happened to Daniel, Abimelech, Jacob, Joseph, Laban, the butler, and the baker. It even happened to Pharaoh.
- What is the message? Get out of Dodge.
- It is interesting to look at the comparison to OT scenes.
- Herod was a Edomite.
- Who was the father of the Edomites? Esau … Jacobs twin brother.
- Each became a people and Edom has been fighting God’s people up to this point.
- Now the new Edomite is on the scene to try to destroy God’s people through Jesus Christ.
- It’s funny the angel does not say “take your wife.” – but take the child and his mother – see v.11; 13; 14; 20; 21
- How much of this is a cosmic battle as we saw in Daniel – with Michael the Archangel fighting off the King of Persia?
- Satan, through Herod trying to kill the Messiah.
- In the times preceding Jesus, it was common for people would flee to Egypt.
- It was about 75 miles to the border. They had good status in Egypt and at one time the Egyptians built them a temple.
14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt
- This is not a trip to Egypt – come on, pack up, go pee, hop in the car we are going to go see grandma in Egypt! – No! this is an escape.
- Joseph was obedient to the angel in the dream.
- Did they tell anyone they were leaving? “hey, forward my mail.”
- Were the gifts from the wise men used to finance the trip?
- Herod wants to destroy the Christ child – we see in Rev 12 the dragon chasing the child – the same story.
15 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.”
- Why didn’t the angel have the holy family just go with the Magi back to Babylon for protection – and then to keep them safe and cared for?
- Because of the scripture – that needed to be fulfilled.
- Hosea 11:1 = “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
- “spoken by the prophet” – inspired by God himself.
- You really need to study Hosea to understand this properly.
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.
- Herod’s attitude was “Over my dead body will this child be king in my place. Herod = a murderer and a butcher.
- Again, it’s the same old tune – when Pharaoh ordered the killing of the male newborns … can you hear the hiss of the serpent.
- Now, a little theology here;
- These children were circumcised children / children of the covenant, brought into the kingdom through the sacrament that God had provided for them at that time.
- The children in a sense died on behalf of Jesus – died on behalf of the savior, on behalf of the gospel.
- They are martyrs in that sense – killed for the faith
- And then in another sense, Jesus died for them.
- Even at the very beginning of Jesus’ life there is rejection
- Why couldn’t Jesus have shed his blood and died for the sins of the world here in Bethlehem?
17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:
18 “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”
- Matthew is being very clear that his Jewish readers know that Jesus was fulfilling scripture – even during a tragedy.
- The original context of this passage is that Rachel, the favorite wife of Jacob (Israel) was buried in Ramah, north of Jerusalem (2nd version is in Bethlehem)
- It was said that when the Israelites were carried off into captivity, they marched on that road past the burial site, that Rachel, from her tomb would wail and weep for the children of Israel, as they were hauled off as punishment for their refusal to repent.
- Matthew pictures this as the same – the weeping going on as evil thrives in Israel.
- So Rachel weeps again. And this time, she weeps not because Babylon or Assyria has destroyed her people, but because Herod has.
- And this time it isn’t because of some political foreign power. It’s even the king of the very nation of Israel itself.
- The consolation follows immediately because even though the king has been exiled and the slaughter is going on, the king is going to come back, from Egypt.
- And his gospel will be preached and a remnant will be saved.
- Why Rachel? – a symbol as the mother of all the children of Israel.