[July 05]--The New Israel

Matt. 2:13-15

Of course, if you’re familiar with your Bible you know what happened after the Magi left. Since it’s pretty well known, we won’t spend a lot of time on the Slaughter of the Infants. What I'd like to examine a bit further is how Matthew (under the inspiration of the Spirit) interpreted the flight to Egypt.

Being in danger of their lives, the family fled to Egypt out of Herod’s reach, but according to this passage there was more to it than that. Referring to this incident, the author specifically quoted from Hosea 11:1: "out of Egypt I called my son." Since he took the trouble to do this, it might profit us to look at the original context from Hosea, which was recounting the history of national Israel. Because of this, many biblical scholars believe that Matthew was drawing a parallel between national Israel and the Messiah. Both fled to Egypt to take refuge (in accordance with God’s plan), and eventually they were called out once the danger was passed.

This is a very important point, since it sheds some light on who Jesus is and why he came. What was God’s purpose for Israel? To be a kingdom of Priests, in other words to represent God to mankind and mankind to God. In this they failed miserably. They broke, abused, and totally twisted the Lord's perfect Law. They abandoned their Savior and his covenant. Many times God told them that they were acting as bad as or even worse than the nations who had come before them, who'd fallen under the Lord's judgment (for example, here). Instead of being a light to the nations and leading them to the one true God, they turned people away from him. And they paid the price.

But where national Israel failed the test, Jesus succeeded. He perfectly followed the Father's plan for himself and the world, and perfectly obeyed him. He was--and is--the new Israel. All the promises which God made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David are fulfilled in him.

What does this mean to us? When other people fail in meeting their promises, he doesn’t. What sinful mankind fails to be, he is. All of God’s promises and blessings are made flesh and fulfilled in Christ. And the other part of the Good News is that we will one day be like him. He’s in the process of making us like him in word, in thought, and in deed, and one day he’ll finish. Do you see why it’s called Good News?

Lord Jesus, everything I fail to be as a man, you are. Please make me like you, and show me how I can cooperate. Without you, I can do nothing.

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