This is the sermon for Sunday, April 17th, 2011.

Matthew part 4

The great escape.

 

Matthew 2:13-23 NIV – 13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” 16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: 18 “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.” 19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” 21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.

                                                                                                                                 

Introduction

 

Last time we looked at the Magi coming to worship Jesus, and being warned by the Lord, they did not return to Herod, but went back to their own country.  Herod was wanting to kill the baby Jesus, but God was protecting Him supernaturally by warning the Magi through a dream.

Today we are going to continue to look at God’s protection over the Child Jesus of Nazareth, plus the unfortunate result of an evil man.

I want us all the realize something: the Devil hates God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ.  If he can’t hinder and destroy God’s true salvation through Jesus through unbelief, he will try to destroy it through false religion.  But God still protects His purpose.  He hasn’t changed how we are brought into fellowship with Him and forgiven of our sins – and He will continue to protect the truth of the Gospel – forgiveness of sins being available through Jesus and His atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Let’s begin unpacking our text this morning.

The flight to Egypt.

 

Matthew 2:13-15 – 13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

 

Before we begin to really unpack this portion of the text, we must realize that this child Jesus was born to die.

  • But His death would not be on Satan’s terms; or Herod’s terms; but would be on God’s terms at God’s appointed time.
  • And all the powers of earth and hell itself could not stop it from happening.

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

  • Here we see the supernatural protection that the Lord again does by warning Joseph in a dream.
  • This dream wasn’t inspired by too much meat, pizza, or in Joseph’s case – too much falafel; but inspired by an angelic messenger sent by the Lord Himself to warn Joseph.
  • It is interesting that God directed Joseph to send Jesus and Mary to Egypt, an Arab country.  He did this for a couple of reasons possibly: (1) It was a place of refuge for many Jews who were on the run during the time of Christ; (2) There was a large Jewish population and a small Jewish Temple there during this time.  So there would be people of the same race that could help protect plus they could continue in their worship to Yahweh there.
  • We also see that the Lord was going again give Joseph direction of when the time to return would be.

Think about the responsibility of Joseph for a moment.

  • This Child was not His own, but conceived by the Holy Spirit, but God gives Him the responsibility of not only raising this Child, but also protecting this Child.
  • I personally believe that Joseph loved Jesus as if He was His own Child.

One other note about Egypt.

  • Egypt was a wicked place, but it would the place that the Lord sent Jesus and His parents to protect Jesus.
  • Sometimes we see family and friends lost in the depths of sin and evil sinking deeper and deeper into that evil.  Hold onto Christ during these times.  He may be at work, even in those depths of sin.  There is no sin so great that God cannot break through and draw that heart out to Himself.

 

  • One other point: sometimes the Lord will put us in places that just doesn’t seem to make sense at the time.  But He has a purpose for those seasons and one of those purposes just might be for our protection.
  • You see, God still protects His plan of salvation and one way He still protects this plan is by protecting those that He has saved for His glory.

Jesus is the new Israel.

  • Notice what the text says, And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
  • This is a quote from Hosea.

Hosea 11:1 – 1 “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.

 

  • Israel was God’s chosen people, yet they continued to turn their backs on God who chose them.  Notice what Hosea continues to say concerning Israel.

Hosea 11:1-2 – 1 “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. 2 But the more they were called, the more they went away from me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images.

 

  • Jesus is the Chosen One of God to take away our sin and appease the wrath of God over us sinners.  Unlike Israel, He will not sacrifice to foreign false gods but will honor the Father in doing what God has chosen Him too do.

The wrath of the wicked.

 

Matthew 2:16-18 – 16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: 18 “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.”

 

The fury of Herod.

  • Herod is angry that the Magi outwitted him, but he still wanted to see the Messiah killed.  So he has all the boys in Bethlehem killed that were two years old and under.
  • This atrocity was warned about by God in prophecy by the prophet Jeremiah.
  • The wicked truly hate Christ Jesus and God’s chosen plan of salvation.  After two thousand years, they are many who are trying to either destroy it without through atheism, or trying to destroy it within through false religion and heresy.
  • But the good news is God will not allow them to destroy His purpose of salvation for sinners.  He mocks and laughs at the plans and strategies of the wicked.

 

Psalm 2:1-6 – 1 Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the LORD and against his anointed, saying, 3 “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.” 4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. 5 He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, 6 “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.”

 

  • Satan’s wrath is also against those who are redeemed through Jesus Christ.  He wishes to destroy us.  But thanks be to God, though we may have to endure Satan’s wrath; we’ve been set free from facing God’s just wrath through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Living in humility.

 

Matthew 2:19-23 – 19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” 21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.

Now the Lord again supernaturally through a dream directs Joseph back to Israel in verses 19-20.

  • Josephus describes Herod’s death as follows: “a burning fever seized him, with an intolerable itching all over his body, and continual pains of the colic; his feet swelled with a dropsy; he had an inflammation in the lower part of his belly: a putrefaction in his privy parts, which bred worms; a frequency and difficulty of breathing, and convulsions in all his members; he had a voracious appetite, a stinking breath, and his intestines abounded with ulcers; when he found that all means made use of were ineffectual, and that he must die, he attempted to lay violent hands upon himself, but was prevented, and soon after expired in a very miserable manner.”
  • The one who tried to do harm to the Chosen Child of God suffered harm under God’s severe wrath at his death.

Joseph returns to Israel and is again warned in a dream, so they go to live in Nazareth, a very poor and small Jewish village where Jesus would be known as being from (verses 21-23).

  • There is no one Old Testament passage that says, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”  So more than likely, since Nazareth was a small despised town in Judea, Matthew is tying many prophecies concerning the Messiah together.
  • The point being that the Lord would be raised and live by humble means, for the glory of His Father.
  • Like Christ, God calls us to live out our lives in humility for His glory alone.

Conclusion

 

As we conclude, let us have a thankful heart this morning that God’s plan of salvation from our sins through Jesus Christ has not been nor ever will be destroyed by the plans of the wicked one – Satan.  God will perfectly save a people for Himself.

Let us also rejoice that as believers in Jesus, God’s plan of salvation and purpose for saving us will not be destroyed either.  As Paul says in Romans, “Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

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