Out Of Egypt I Called Me Son


Sermon Outline By Terry Siverd

Cortland Church of Christ / December 17, 2017

During this month of December we have chosen to preach a mini-series from Matthew chapter 2.

We began December 3rd with a lesson titled, Darkness In The Midst Of A Great Light (Mt.2:16-18).

The birth of Jesus took place in that little town of Bethlehem radiated by a great light.

But little Bethlehem was not exempt from having dark streets.

King Herod, full of envy and degenerate in every way, had the baby boys of Bethlehem slaughtered.

Last Sunday, we looked at the visit of Magi and in particular the perplexing response of the priests and scribes.

Thy were So Close, Yet So Far Away - - just five miles from Bethlehem, but not a one of them visited or investigated.

If you missed that message from Mt.2:1-6, we’ve offered a recap in the essay in today’s FamilyMatters.

This morning I want to visit the central part of Matthew chapter two (Mt.2:13-15).

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, ‘Arise and take the Child

and His mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell  you: for Herod  is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.’

And he arose and took the Child and His mother by night, and departed for Egypt; and was there until the death of Herod,

that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, ‘Out of Egypt did I call My son.’

These verses are found in the center of chapter two.

In our reflections on the birth of Jesus. very seldom do we focus upon this part of Matthew two.

However, that which is recorded in these three brief verses is CENTRAL to understanding the role of Jesus.

It is easy to see the providence of God in this passage:  God is providing protection for Joseph & Mary and Jesus.

What is more difficult to comprehend is the fulfillment of so many things that were formerly mysterious.

It is true that the angel’s directive telling Joseph to flee to Egypt (vs.13) is a safety mechanism.

God was not about to send His dear Son to be born in the flesh only to have him slaughtered in His infancy.

But this sojourn to Egypt proves quite dramatic in the way it fulfills prophetic utterances and OT types and shadows.

The writer of Hebrews declares (Heb.2:17) - - (Jesus) had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might

become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Like Mary, who was heavy with Child, when she and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem,

this text from Hebrews is very pregnant with deep and profound meaning.

Matthew’s gospel is tailor-made to appeal to the mindset of his inter-testamental Jewish readers.

His goal appears to be to convince those within first-century Judaism that Jesus was indeed Israel’s Messiah.

Part of his methodology includes authenticating that Jesus was the very fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies.

In the second sermon preached by the apostle Peter (i.e., the second one recorded) found in Acts 3:12ff,

in vs.22, Peter quotes from a statement made by Moses recorded in Deut.18:15 - - 

The Lord God shall raise up for you a prophet like unto me from your brethren;

 To Him you shall give heed in everything that He says to you.

In his gospel, Matthew sets out to prove that Jesus is Israel’s Messiah based on the prophecies of the Old Testament.

He begins with a genealogical record that flows from Abraham through King Daivd.

Matthew then details the BIRTH OF JESUS, which took place in Bethlehem just as was prophesied (Mic.5:2).

And then we see “a replication of sorts” of things that happened to Moses.

  As Moses was saved from the slaughter of the baby boys, so too was Jesus.

  As Moses received asylum in Egypt, so too did Jesus.

  As Moses was called to exodus/depart from Egypt, so too with Jesus.

  As Moses led Israel through a baptism in the sea (1Cor.10:2), likewise, Jesus is baptized (Mt.3:13).

  Moses entered the wilderness testing for 40 years.  Jesus is tempted by Satan in the wilderness for 40 days (Mt.4:1f).

  From Mt. Sinai Moses provides covenantal laws given by God.  Jesus preaches the sermon on the mount (Mt.5-6-7).

Not one of these is a made-up (falsely fabricated) parallel.

In the infinite wisdom and omniscience of God, we see clearly that what happened to Moses also happens to Christ.

It wasn’t so much that Jesus was duplicating Moses, as it was the Moses was pre-figuring or foreshadowing Christ.

Sometimes we might be inclined to think the flight to and from Egypt is out of place - -

as if it were just some last-minute adjustment to compensate for the madness of King Heord.

Matthew was an inspired author and he doesn’t seem to think so.  He quotes from the Old Testament

prophet Hosea (Hos.11:1) - - When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My Son.

The flight to Egypt was not just an evasive maneuver.

It was that, but it was much more.  It was done to fulfill prophecy (vs.15 / Hos.11:1) as is thus very significant.

Just as the Joseph of old would offer safety and sanctuary for his brethren in the bowels of Egypt, so this

new Joseph (Mary’s husband), with the benevolent guidance of God, would find safety and sanctuary in Egypt.

But only for a time, until God would once again call Him forth from Egypt.

We know so very little about this important undertaking.

  We don’t exactly how old Jesus was when this happened (after His birth of course).

  We don’t know where in Egypt they resided (could it have been Goshen?).

  We don’t know how long they stayed in Egypt or exactly how old Jesus was when they returned to Nazareth.

  What we do know for sure, it that this was done to fulfill the Scriptures.

Legends abound around this incident, but they are just that - - legends - -stories that are not founded in Scripture.

One tells of Joseph & Mary being accosted on the way to Egypt (they were toting gold, frankincense and myrrh).

One of the bushwhackers named Dismas saw the baby he was touched deeply and would not allow them to be harmed.  He looked at the baby and said:

“O most blessed of children, if ever there comes a time for having mercy on me, then remember me, and forget not this hour.”

The legend contends that Jesus and Dismas indeed did met later in life.  Dismas was the penitent thief on the cross.

A second legend is child-like in it sweetness - - quite endearing.  It tells how en route to Egypt Joseph & Mary and baby Jesus sought refuge in a cave.  It was very cold and the ground was covered with frost.  A spider saw baby Jesus and wanted to help keep him warm and safe so he spun a web across the entrance to the cave, as if to weave a curtain.  Some of Herod’s goons, in pursuit of baby boys nearby (Mt.2:16/Bethlehem and all it environs), sought to

enter the cave to search for any who might be hiding but when they encountered the spider’s frosty

web, they turned aside, surmising that since the web appeared unbroken no one was inside the cave. 

This spider’s web is but the spinning of a tale, but the truth is God did protect Joseph & Mary & baby Jesus.

This old legend of the spider’s web undergoes an annual reenactment with the stringing of tinsel on Christmas trees.

Even today, especially among Coptic Christians, “Christmas in Egypt” remains a highly celebratory event.

Among a large reservoir of songs that make up “Christmas hymnody” very few broach the subject of the flight to Egypt.

I’ve found only one - - Flight To Egypt (Vincent Uher III, 1997).  Among its four stanzas, the last two contain these words:

Fleeing from the land of promise      They in Egypt find a home

Strange the workings of God’s mercy - -     House of bondage now God’s throne…

True the tale of flight and exile.     Out of Egypt comes God’s Son.     Angels tell of Herod’s dying.

All is ended, all begun.     Jesus will grow up in Nazareth     And the world will be stunned.

With very deliberate strokes of his pen, Matthew goes to great lengths to show that Jesus’ birth, life and death,

are rooted deeply in the Old Testament.  Jesus is born of a virgin (Isa.7:14); He was born in Bethlehem (Mic.5:1-2);

He was sought out to be killed by Herod (Jer.31:15); He was preceded by John preparing the way (Isa.40:3);

He healed diseases (Isa.53:4); He spoke in parables (Ps.78:2); He came to Jerusalem riding on a donkey (Zech.9:9).

And on and on we could go.  There are so many Messianic prophecies.

In Scripture after Scripture, the Old Testament writings depict Jesus as the very embodiment of Israel.

Even though sometimes mysterious, these numerous and specific predictions, uttered long before

their time of fulfillment, provide an abundance of evidence that points to the Divinity of Christ Jesus. 

What began with the Old Testament nation of Israel would come to completion in the New Israel, embodied in Jesus.

Even the verbiage of Mt.1:1 speaks of a new beginning - - a new genesis (geneseos).

The arrival of Israel’s Messiah (Jesus) brings both a new genesis and a new exodus, only this time it would be done right.

Thus we read early on (and repeatedly) in Matthew of a voice from heaven that declares (Mt.3:17) - -

This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.

We closed last Sunday’s sermon (this week’ essay) by appealing to skeptics and or seekers to “take a trip to Bethlehem”.

By that, we do not mean a literal visit, but rather an intellectual and heart-felt examination of the birth of Jesus.

Our text this morning offers an even deeper challenge.  The Old Testament contains some 300 Messianic prophecies.

There prophecies are words spoken by a various Biblical writers hundreds of years in advance of their fulfillment.

Some people engaging in gaming - - going to a casino to play the odds.

I don’t recommend it, you will seldom come out ahead when you play against the odds.

In his book, Science Speaks, Peter Stoner employs technical algorithms to run the mathematical calculations.

He uses the modern science of probably in reference to just eight Messianic prophecies.

We find the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is:

1 in 10 to the 17th power - - i.e., 1 in 1 followed by 17 zeros - - 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000.

In order to help us comprehend this staggering probability, Stoner illustrates it by supposing that we take 10 to the 17th

power silver dollars and lay them on the face (state) of Texas. They will cover the entire state two feet deep.  Now mark just

one of those silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state.  Now blindfold a person and tell him or

her that they can travel as far as they wish, but they must pick up one silver dollar and be sure that it is the right one. 

What chance would a person have of choosing the right one?  That’s the scientific odds of One man (in this case Jesus)

Fulfilling all eight prophecies.  That’s using just eight prophecies - - keep in mind that there are actually 300 or so.

In closing, when we visit the incarnation of Jesus - - when we journey to Bethlehem - - it begins an exploration

that takes us deeply into the identity of Jesus of Nazareth. What begins so simply by gazing at a infant in a cradle

comes to fullness when we look upon Christ Jesus wearing a crown of thorns and bow our knees in humble adoration.

I think that for years we have under-estimated the strong, but sometimes subtle, power that resides in the telling and

re-telling of the story of the birth of Jesus.  If and when we draw near to Bethlehem, it will lead us on to Jerusalem.

And it is there in Jerusalem that we will come to see not THE CHILD in the manger, but THE CHRIST on the cross.

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