Text: Matthew 2:1-23
Matthew recorded, to Joseph’s great credit, his instant obedience to the divine word given to him by an angel of the Lord. The first instance of his obedience was recorded in this text.
“Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep,
did as the angel of the Lord commanded him
and took to him his wife…”
The second instance was when he was warned by an angel in a dream to take the whole family to Egypt, to flee from the wrath of Herod.
“When he arose, he took the young Child and
His mother by night and departed for Egypt,
and was there until the death of Herod…”
Joseph was spiritually sensitive and alert enough to practise instant and total obedience to the dreams he received from the Lord.
1. He discerned that these dreams were from the Lord.
2. He knew that he must comply, instantly and fully.
3. Through his actions, the plans of God were fulfilled. There was no room for mistakes! Too much was at stake! God had chosen a wise and spiritually sensitive man to be the father of Jesus!
“THAT IT MIGHT BE FULFILLED”
As we read Matthew’s Gospel, we cannot but appreciate the author’s theological stance. He held a very high view of the Scriptures. One of the aspects that stood out to Matthew was the fulfillment of the Scriptures. Let us consider what he wrote on this subject thus far.
“So all this was done that it might be fulfilled
which was spoken by the Lord through the
prophet, saying, ‘Behold, the virgin shall be
with child, and bear a Son, and they shall
call His Name Immanuel,’ which is translated,
‘God with us.'”
“And was there until the death of Herod, that
it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the
Lord through the prophet, saying, ‘Out of
Egypt I called My Son.'”
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SCRIPTURES BEING FULFILLED
What did Matthew mean when he wrote this phrase, “That it might be fulfilled” (Cf. Matthew 2:17, 23 where Matthew continued to use the same phrase to apply to other circumstances). Let us consider the following thoughts.
1. The Messianic Element
Matthew was particularly concerned about the Messianic element when he cited the Scriptures and proclaimed them fulfilled.
a) Multiple aspects
i.The average Jew held a very high regard for the Scriptures.
ii.There was the historical aspect.
iii.There was the Mosaic-law aspect.
iv.There was the religious-ceremonial aspect.
v.There was the wisdom-literature aspect
b) The Prophetic element
Not everybody held a high regard for the prophetic aspect of the Scriptures. The scribes and chief priests who informed Herod of the birthplace of Jesus certainly did not seem to have a very high regard concerning the prophetic element. Matthew expressed that he believed that the Scriptures were of high prophetic value.
One of the aspects of prophetic literature was the Messianic element. Not everybody believed that the Messianic element would be fulfilled in his life time. Matthew wrote with both awe and joy, as he noted how the Messianic prophecies were fulfilled in the life of Jesus!
2. The Deep Symbolism of the Scriptures
There was great symbolism in the Scriptures. One of the most striking examples of this is the doctrine of the Divine Sonship of Jesus. In the Messianic Psalm 2, we read these famous words,
“I will declare the decree:
The Lord has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You…'”
Matthew made careful observation of how God the Father specially protected His Son. When Herod threatened the life of His Son Jesus, Joseph was given divine warning to take Jesus to Egypt. This land held deep symbolic meaning for Israel. It was out of Egypt that God called Israel. As Matthew noted how Joseph took Mary and Jesus to reside in Egypt, he could not help but recall the words written by the prophet Hosea,
“Out of Egypt I called My Son.”