Summary: In this sermon I want to show how all that took place in the life of Jesus was in fulfillment of prophecy.
We have just heard the story of Jesus’ birth told in the Lessons and Carols.
There is a sense in which the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation is about the Lord Jesus Christ. However, we have listened to various passages of Scripture that deal specifically with the birth of Jesus.
In the Old Testament God was preparing the world for the birth of his Son. The Gospels record his birth, life, death, and resurrection. And the rest of the New Testament teaches what Jesus did through the Holy Spirit in the life of the 1st century Church.
For this season of Advent I have been examining the Advent of the King in Matthew 1 and 2. In the previous four messages we learned about the human ancestry of Jesus, the divine ancestry of Jesus, different responses to Jesus, and the anger against Jesus.
In Matthew 2 the apostle presented further evidence that Jesus is the Messiah by showing that he fulfilled prophecies that had been made about him. Mathew points out four prophecies in this chapter. We have already looked at three. And tonight I want to briefly examine the fourth. Let us read Matthew 2:19-23:
19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”
21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.” (Matthew 2:19-23)
The apostle Matthew wrote his Gospel in order to show that Jesus really was the long-expected Messiah, who was born king of the Jews.
He began his Gospel by showing that Jesus was a descendant of David, and therefore was heir to the throne of King David.
Then, Matthew showed that Jesus was divine. His conception was supernatural. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Of course, Matthew does not say how this can happen; he simply records the miracle and the mystery of Jesus’ supernatural conception.
Some time after Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem his parent apparently moved into a small house. That is when the Magi (i.e., wise men) from the east visited Jesus. They came to worship him and gave him gifts of gold, incense and myrrh. In contrast, we noticed the indifference of the people of Jerusalem and the hatred of Herod regarding Jesus’ birth.
Herod, in fact, was so angry that he plotted to kill Jesus. But in the providence of God Herod was outwitted and, sadly, he killed all the boys under the age of two in Bethlehem and its vicinity.
Meanwhile, Joseph had taken Jesus and Mary to Egypt in order to escape Herod’s evil and murderous schemes.
Tonight, I want to show you how all that took place in the life of Jesus was in fulfillment of prophecy.
I. Jesus Went to Live in Nazareth (2:19-23a)
First, Jesus went to live in Nazareth.
Some time after Jesus and his family were in Egypt Herod died. We don’t know how long the family was in Egypt, but it was probably only a few months, at the most.
Matthew says that after Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. This is the third time that an angel appeared to Joseph with a message. The angel said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”
Once again we notice Joseph’s immediate obedience. Matthew says that Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, presumably in the middle of the night, and went to the land of Israel.
We don’t know where Joseph, Mary and Jesus were staying in Egypt. But, if they were staying at Alexandria, which was a city friendly towards Jews and had a large Jewish population, then they had a journey of almost 300 miles back to Bethlehem!
We also don’t know how old Jesus was at this time. He may have been just a few months old. Or, he may have been a toddler. Regardless, a long, arduous journey lay ahead of the family.
Commentators speculate that Joseph intended to go back and live in Bethlehem. However, when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. The reason Joseph was afraid to go and live in Bethlehem is because Archelaus was even more brutal than his despotic father Herod.