Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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Fleeing Herod’s infanticide and the flight to Egypt – Matthew 2:13-15

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Fleeing Herod’s infanticide and the flight to Egypt – Matthew 2:13-15 – 01/06/2016
This is a series in the Gospel of Matthew which looks to visit the text from the Gospel of Matthew on a line by line and verse by verse teaching and Lord willing we will get through the full book of Matthew, this is part of a New Testament bible study series that you can read all other studies in this section on this link.
Matthew 2:13 (ESV) 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.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 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.”
Those of you who have been following along with the articles thus far will be aware that the current king, whose name is Herod was a very jealous man who was in a very volatile situation balancing Roman expectations against the Jewish religious leaders demands and wishing to hold on to his wee piece of a divided temporary kingdom. I know what we are about to read is rather distasteful and you may wonder what kind of king could think to do this to innocent children but let us look at the type of man Herod was. This man was a paranoid guy who was not afraid to put members of his own family in harm’s way to protect his position. Infants that he did not know would not be safe from his paranoia and would be considered by him at least to be “collateral damage”. Let’s look at the text in a line by line format…
V13 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.”
Just as Joseph had been alerted that Mary was not in sin, God sent an angel to minister to Joseph in the form of a dream. He was given a command, the words from the angel were not a gentle nudge or a possible course of action or recommendation, this was something that had to be done right away.
At this point the wise men had gone, enough time had elapsed that Herod knew that the wise men were not coming back through his palace so Herod had a plan B in mind. Joseph would have known Herod by repute so the news that he had to go and if he did not then Herod would do harm to him, his wife and the baby and the destination would not have been strange to him as he would be aware of the sanctuary that he would find in the Jewish communities that were there. It was still within the safety of the Roman Empire but it was just far enough away that it was able to be travelled to but just outside the clutches of Herod.
The angel does not pull any punches; he makes it clear that there is a clear and present danger if they stay in Bethlehem! God reveals four pertinent pieces of information to show that he is serious…
•       Who he was to take – He was to not leave anyone behind, take the whole family with you.
•       Where he was to go – We are told, just like Monopoly, Go directly to Egypt, do not pass Go, get out of here now. (FLEE!)
•       How long he was meant to be there – Remain there until I tell you.
•       The reason why it had to be now – Because Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.
You have to remember that Herod is only interested in one thing, protecting his own little kingdom and had no interest in the things of God and seeking after what was much better (the coming Messiah) and it is rather tragic and a common story of those who have all the riches and power in the world and miss the point of it all. It is not all about what we can see here and this is all temporary and like Herod, we can get wrapped up in protecting our own little kingdoms and neglect our most important relationship, the one with our Messiah Jesus.
How apt that Satan would try to use a wicked king who had a dubious character to try and rid the world of the very one who would reconcile man to God when Jesus was at his most non-threatening, when he was an infant. Do not underestimate the spiritual aspect of this historical account. Yes, Herod was very much the villain and made terrible choices but make no mistake about it Satan did not want Jesus fulfilling his mission.
V14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt
Again Joseph shows tremendous obedience that we could all learn from, the child was not his but he lead his family well and was an honorable man and desired to do the will of God. He did not dawdle, he did not spare any time (left by night) and it demonstrates to me two honorable characteristics in the man called Joseph…
•       Obedience to Gods will – This was a lot to handle, they had a long journey to get to Bethlehem, they stayed in Bethlehem until this point, they had an interesting first couple of years of marriage and now they have to flee for their lives due to the guy that’s in charge wants to kill their young son.
•       Love for Mary – This would be enough to test any man’s resolve, a child that was not his that was from the Holy Spirit and now having to get out of there because their child was that special that he threatened the status quo of the monarchy and he was still an infant. Joseph shows great love and devotion for this Mary that she was still worth it and shows great character.
We know they went to Egypt, but the writer does not speak of where. What is important that he complied with the request and went.
V15 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.”
We dealt with this in depth in our “Advent series day nine”  page (It is a really good read if you wished to focus in on this verse) so I will not go too deep into this except to clarify that the original prophecy is a quotation from Hosea 11:1. Matthew ties this prophecy to the Messiah Jesus and much as he came out of Egypt he came out to be the Messiah for the Jews first and now for us gentiles also.
His death and sacrifice at Calvary was for the whole world. (See Gospel of John chapter 3) He came to save us all from our sins and reconcile man to God. I pray that if you don’t know Jesus then you investigate the claims of the messiah, if you are a Christian I pray that you grow deeper with your Savior.
God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to
TTE
TGBTG
SDG
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TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty One – December 21st

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty One – December 21st

Thank you for reading our twenty first installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Today we look at the prophecy that the messiah would be pierced in his hands and feet. We read this is the book of Isaiah chapter fifty three which is an awesome piece of prophetic scripture and speaks that the messiah will be a sacrifice for sin…

Pierced for our transgressions

Isaiah 53:1 (ESV) Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

You cannot do a series on messianic prophecy and not include Isaiah 53. For a rock fan like me it would be like Queen touring and not singing “We will Rock You” or the Rolling Stones touring and not singing “Start me up” (Or for that matter The Who and “Pinball Wizard”) I was only going to quote from verse five onwards, however the whole chapter speaks of Jesus and is a wonderful look forward to the coming messiah and how that is shown to be the person known as Jesus of Nazareth who is known as the Christ.

The whole chapter tells of how the messiah will suffer for sin, we spoke a few days about the root of Jesse that he will spring from (verse 2) we spoke of how he came from Nazareth and was despised and rejected (verse 3 & 4) and now we look at how he would suffer.

10 points that Isaiah makes about the messiah

1) Messiah would be rejected
2) He would be a root from the dry ground
3) Messiah would be despised
4) Messiah would carry our sorrows
5) Messiah would be pierced for our transgressions
6) Messiah would have no deceit or violence
7) Location of his grave
8) By his knowledge his followers would be counted righteous
9) Messiah would pour his soul out to death
10) Messiah makes intercession for the transgressors

We could really end the article there but I write this article as a resource for both the skeptic and the believer, for the skeptic I write in order that you may have an answer to why I believe in the messiah and to the believer I write that it may be edifying to your faith.

The reason I post the ten reasons is that I could write 100 articles on this part of scripture and not cover it adequately. I wished to get the bullet points in case there is something that is not covered in this “broad strokes” look at this passage of scripture. The reason for this disclaimer is that in this article we are going to focus on the individual prophecy that he will be a sacrifice for sin.

Isaiah uses very graphic words that leave us in no doubt that the messiah would suffer the way Jesus suffered, reading from verse five we read words such as “pierced”, “crushed”, “chastisement”, “oppressed”, “judgment” and many more like it. Isaiah 53 clearly speaks on the first coming of the messiah where he would be the suffering servant.

This reminds me of a great old hymn which had the lyrics:

“Man of sorrows what a name, for the Son of God, who came, ruined sinners to reclaim: Hallelujah, what a Savior!”

Yesterday we spoke of the Passover lamb and how the lamb and the blood were used as a sign that the children of Israel were with God, later in the Levitical law we see the practice of laying a hand on the sacrifice to signify the sin atonement the sacrifice was making, We read in verse 4 that “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows”. He takes it all, our griefs our sorrows, all laid to rest at Calvary.

Verse six gives the point of the crucifixion when it states “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Jesus died and placed himself “like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” (v7) He paid the price that he knew we could not. After the messiah there was no need for a temporary sacrifice. Jesus blood is enough!

Isaiah also predicts the manner of Christ’s death and how he would be buried when he states “And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death” As we read in the Gospels, he was crucified with sinners and buried in the borrowed tomb of a rich man. (Joseph of Arimathea – Matthew 27:57-60)

The reason we are Christians (those who believe) in the first place is in the next part of the verses “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.” It shows what we have been saying in the last few articles that God was in control, he had ordained this sacrifice. It was not the will of the Jewish leaders, the Romans or whoever, it was God’s will and plan to redeem the world. We see that in verses 11 and 12 that Jesus was the intercession for the transgressors. Anyone who has sinned, Jesus died for!

Christ died – at the right time!

Paul writes in his Epistle to the Roman church…

Romans 5:6 (ESV) For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Jesus died for us, the ungodly! (v6) Regardless of how holy or righteous you think you are, without Jesus you were going to hell! Can you think of a group of people that are as undeserving? (v7) Reading through the bible it is the character of God to reach out to those and account unto them righteousness when it is barely deserved.

Jesus died for you whether you choose to accept it or not, (v8) if you don’t then that is really your choice, no one will force you into a relationship with Jesus. There are two eternal destinations at the end of your life and you can remain an “enemy of God” (v10) or be saved from the “Wrath of God”. (v9) Obviously I would love to see you become a brother or a sister and be reconciled to God (v10) and receive eternal life with the creator. That is why Jesus became a sacrifice for sin.

Jesus went through all this so we can go to heaven, although that decision is ours, we have to choose to follow Jesus. My hope is that these articles help and please contact me if you need to discuss further.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE