A Look At Prophecy In The Gospel of Matthew
Matthew 2:13-18 NLT
1. PROPHECY AND OBEDIENCE
Twice before God has sent angels to deliver a prophecy to participants in the First Noel: 1. to Joseph; 2. to the wise men. If you refer to the Annunciation, there are three, but here we are referring only to Matthew's writing. Twice before the prophecies have been met with obedience. Obedience in action. A great example for those of us who believe today.
Now, again, an angel prophesies to Joseph. Again, Joseph models obedient faith. He does not argue with the messenger. He does not nit pit the words as Abraham his forefather did. Nor does he delay as we independent Westerners tend to do. Wise enough to see the signs and trust God's leading (instruction), he obeys quickly and without argument.
I wonder what turns in my personal history would have occurred had I obeyed quickly and without argument? What about your personal history? Your church's history?
NOTE: This prophecy included a disclaimer. "Do not return until God says so"
presumes continued listening on Joseph's part. What a great example to modern
believers. We need to study this man more to understand a heart of obedience, a
life of obedience.
2. "OUT OF EGYPT I HAVE CALLED MY SON"
Hosea 11:1 links Jesus life to God delivering his people from bondage. How literal we get and miss the plain message of the text. Jesus life brings a new delivery from bondage -- to the Jews and to all who will believe on him (us).
Remember the fear brought by word of a king of the Jews being born, the fear of having the Messiah come into their world in their day? Remember the words of prophecy that Hosea chapter 11 speaks to our day (lesson 1; lesson 2; lesson 3; lesson 4; lesson 5; lesson 6)? This quote for Hosea also links Jesus delivering his people from bondage to their/our refusal to obey and follow him.
This prophecy through Matthew speaks directly to our time, our day, our need, the churches' needs. By quoting it Matthew was speaking a prophetic word anew and also referring to the rejection of Jesus' words of life, in Matthew's day, and all the days of all the believers ever since. Indirectly, Matthew calls us to the radical of obedience of Joseph and the wise men.
3. THE SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS FULFILLS JEREMIAH 31:15
But again the mention of this prophecy connects the Nativity story to an even greater prophecy. TAKE A MOMENT AND READ JEREMIAH 31.
"Tears of joy will stream down their faces,
Those words are only a few in the awe striking words of Jeremiah 31:1-14. And now we, the New Israel, are co-opted into those words. What a day and life that will be!
Rachel's Sadness Turns to Joy - Jeremiah 31:15-25
After the horror of the slaughter of the innocents, Matthew speaks of the fulfillment of Jeremiah 31:15. Again this does not stand alone, it ties to the next ten verses which begin:
The Precursor of the New Covenant - Jeremiah 31:26-40
The sadness of Rachel, as the Jews knew, was a precursor to the coveted New Covenant. Were it not that Jesus' coming ushered in the New Covenant, the slaughter of the innocents would be a permanent stain upon the Nativity. Even so it is a sadness. But the New Testament declares that the words of Jeremiah 31 are being fulfilled in us.
THESE ARE THE FRUITS OF OBEDIENCE.
OBEDIENCE IN ACTION.
OBEDIENCE MODELED BY JOSEPH
AND THE WISE MEN.
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