A New Rescue, A New Covenant, A New King - Sunday 1st May
In Matthew chapter 2, Matthew tells us about happenings in Jesus' life when he was still an infant. But what has that got to do with us? By tying those happenings to Old Testament prophecies, Matthew tells us it has everything to do with us - but what?
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Or you can read them below:
A New Rescue, A New Covenant, A New King
Do the travel arrangements of a young, first century family, or an atrocity committed by a power hungry ruler have anything to say to us? Matthew says these events fulfilled Old Testament prophecy – which means we also get caught up in this.
A New Rescue
Joseph was told to flee to Egypt. Matthew sees something more than Jesus being in a safe place. He quotes the prophet Hosea: ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.’ Just as the Exodus showed Israel’s special relationship with God – they were his children - so in God protecting Jesus he was declaring Christ to be his true son: the ultimate Son, the one true Israelite.
But the context of the quote from Hosea is God’s undying love for his rebellious people. Even though they don’t deserve it, God goes on rescuing them. So in Jesus God is going to bring about an even greater rescue – not from the power of Pharaoh, but the power of sin. We all need rescuing, but only the gospel has the power to do it.
A New Covenant
Herod lusts for power, is angry and orders the death of children. It is the downward spiral of sin. We may not plumb Herod’s depths, but we still experience this downward spiral – for example when we get angry. It starts with our pride, and ends with damaged lived and broken relationships. What can stop that spiral?
Matthew quoted from Jeremiah 31. The passage talks of God bringing hope in place of death, of a new return to God, of a new covenant, written on changed hearts. That great turnaround has begun in Christ. But how?
A King Like No Other
Jesus went to live in Nazareth, in Galilee. Matthew says this was to fulfil what was spoken through the prophets. Nazareth was despised and looked down on – even by Galileans. Jesus wasn’t a member of the rich and famous and beautiful. He was despised and rejected. He was the King of Kings, but laid all his glory aside. He endured the greatest shame of all, not just growing up in Nazareth, but the cross. Why would this King take the lowest place?
He was despised by men that we might be loved by God. God removed his protection from Jesus at the cross that might be forever protected. When you know the love of this king, which you don’t deserve, you’ll find a love for others who don’t deserve it, who wrong you, who you are tempted to get angry with. You’ll find a courage to serve, as he has served you, and the strength to do the right thing, even when you face the scorn of others, because he was shamed for you.