Summary: An examination of how Jesus is the fulfillment of Israel, and thus has become the true Israel, the one to whom national Israel pointed.
TITLE - Jesus: The Fulfillment of Israel for Us
SERIES - Matthew’s Portrait of Jesus As The Fulfillment of God’s Promises (Sermon # 4)
TEXT - Matthew 2:13–15
DATE PREACHED - February 15, 2009
COPYRIGHT © JOE LA RUE, 2009
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
A. Have you heard the one about the little boy who came home from church and was asked by his mom, “What did you learn about today in Sunday school?” And the little boy answered, “We learned about how God brought the people of Israel out of Egypt and got them across the Red Sea.” The mother wanted to test her son’s knowledge of the story, so she said, “Tell me what happened.” And the boy replied:
“Well, God brought them out of Egypt and they came to this big sea that was too deep for them to cross, and Pharaoh brought his army after them, and they thought they were all going to die! But then, out of nowhere, Apache attack helicopters came to the rescue and blew up the Egyptians!”
The mother was mortified that they would have taught her son that in church. She called the teacher to complain, but the teacher told her that she had taught what the Bible says. God had told Moses to stretch out his walking stick over the water, and God caused the Red Sea to split apart. Then people walked through the water on dry ground, and when the Egyptians tried to follow them, God allowed the water to rush back together and they were drowned.
Somewhat mystified, the mom hung up the phone and went to her son’s bedroom, where she found him playing on the floor with his army men. “Honey,” she said, “I need you to tell mommy the truth. Did your teacher really say that attack helicopters blew up the Egyptians?”
The little boy looked ashamed and said, “Well, no, not really.” But then he quickly added, “But if I told you what she really said, you would never believe it!”
B. We are continuing this week with our study of the Gospel of Matthew’s portrayal of Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s promises, and today we are going to consider how Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise of the nation of Israel. We don’t often speak about Israel being a promise. But, they were. And Jesus was its fulfillment: That is, He is the end to which the nation of Israel pointed. If you have your Bibles with you, open to Matthew’s gospel, chapter 2. Last week, we read about how Jesus and his family returned from staying for awhile in the land of Egypt. We actually took that passage out of order. Today, we are going to read about how Jesus and his family went to Egypt. Look at Matt 2:13–15 with me. The Bible says,
"13When [the wise men] had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” (Matt 2:13-15, New International Version).
C. The Old Testament prophet that Matthew is quoting here is Hosea. His ministry took place in the final years of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, shortly before God allowed them to be conquered by Assyria because of their sin and unfaithfulness. And it was in that context that Hosea spoke the words from God recorded in the eleventh chapter of his prophecy, and quoted by Matthew. Here’s the quote as it appears in Hosea: God said, “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.” (Hos 11:1, NIV). And Matthew says that Jesus is the true fulfillment: Jesus is the one who was called out of Egypt, with all that entails.
D. So what does it entail? What does it mean when Matthew says that Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s statement in Hosea about Israel? Well, in order to answer that question, we must first consider why God called the people of Israel in the first place.
I. ISRAEL: CHOSEN BECAUSE OF A PROMISE, AND CALLED FOR SPECIAL SERVICE.
A. Have you ever wondered about that? Why God chose Israel? I mean, it seems sort of odd, doesn’t it? The Bible says that God is a loving, fair God who does not show favoritism. (See Acts 10:34; Rom 2:11; Eph 6:9; Col 3:25; 1 Pet 1:17). And yet, it sure seems like he was playing favorites, doesn’t it? He chose Israel. “Out of Egypt I called My Son,” Hosea writes.