Summary: Whether it is our nature or not, God sometimes calls us to flex and adjust to change, but He gives us the strength to do so.
The Return Trip That Was Diverted
Thwarted Christmas Plans series
(Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23)
1. I love stories like this:
(UPI) An alleged robber at a Florida convenience store picked the wrong potential victim when the man he threatened with a BB gun turned out to be a former WWE wrestler.
Shad Gaspard, a former WWE wrestler, was shopping Saturday night at a convenience store in Coral Springs with fellow wrestler JTG when he was approached by a stranger.
…The man then brandished a realistic-looking BB gun, causing Gaspard to jump into action. Surveillance footage from the store shows Gaspard shove the suspect, causing him to drop the weapon. The video then shows Gaspard forcefully ejecting the man from the store and holding him until police arrived.
Gaspard said he did not know the gun was a fake until the suspect dropped it.
"I just kept thinking about how I wanted to make sure I got home to my son," he told Pro Wrestling Sheet. "I'm not dying in Florida."
Coral Springs police said the man was arrested on an armed robbery charge.
2. Don’t you wish it happened that way every time? But some things are special, unique.
3. This was certainly the case to the most extreme degree when it came to Joseph, Mary, and the Baby Jesus. Joseph and Mary already had experienced sudden traumatic changes in their lives, but God called them to embrace even more changes.
MAIN IDEA: Whether it is our nature or not, God sometimes calls us to flex and adjust to change, but He gives us the strength to do so.
I. The Original Plan: Go to Egypt, Return to BETHLEHEM (13-15)
A. The angel gives Joseph specific DIRECTIONS to protect Jesus (13-14).
B. They relocated to Egypt as PREDICTED (15).
1. The gold, myrrh, and frankincense provided them with means.
2. Many Jewish colonies in Egypt, especially Alexandria.
C. When Herod DIED, they knew they could leave for Israel.
1. New possibility for when Herod died — 1BC instead of 4
2. What a negative legacy — for people to be free when you die.
3. Some of us may play the roll of an obstacle person…
D. Hosea’s prophecy: the Messiah and Israel both God’s SON
1. Actually from Hosea 11:1
2. A reenactment of the Exodus: Two great redemptions in the Bible (Lord’s Supper connects them)
3. This is the less literal fulfillment but more literal (son)
II. A Change of Plans: Return to NAZARETH (19-23)
A. The angel provided LIMITED direction (19-20).
B. They immediately OBEYED God’s revealed will (21).
Reality: God’s will is usually only partly revealed to us…. (His Word & His Spirit]
So what do you do when you have obeyed the Word & prayed for direction?
C. They used SENSE to determine where in Israel they should go (22-23).
1. That’s why I think Christians need to take the virtue of wisdom seriously
2. If God mystically makes His way clear for everything, who needs wisdom?
3. Joseph and Mary had wisdom
4. They also had to be flexible and adjust to change.
D. Jesus fulfilled the prophecy that he would be called a NAZARENE (branch) (23b).
1. Isaiah 11:1-2, “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch [netzer] from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.”
2. From my personal website, midrashkey.com:
A number of authorities have postulated that the name “Nazareth” was derived from the Hebrew word for “branch,” netzer. Paul Wallace (John’s Rabbi, kindle edition) writes, “When the Scriptures tell us that Jesus was a Nazarene (Matthew 2:23), they [are referring to] …the family line of David. Isaiah 11:1 predicts the coming of the Messiah. ‘A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse, from his roots a Branch (netzer) will bear fruit.’”
John Gill(www.biblestudytools.com, commenting on Matthew 2;23), adds, “’a branch shall grow out of his roots’; a prophecy owned by the Jews themselves to belong to the Messiah, and which was now fulfilled in Jesus; who as he was descended from Jesse’s family, so by dwelling at Nazareth, he would appear to be, and would be ‘called a Nazarene, or Netzer, the branch’; being an inhabitant of … Netzer, so called from the multitude of plants and trees that grew there.”
Although Gill’s explanation for the name of this village is viable, another (and I believe better) explanation is advanced by Wallace. He quotes Abrgil Pixner (With Jesus Through Galilee, p. 16) , who suggests, “One can justly assume that …Nazareth (Little-Netzer) acquired its name from a Davidic clan, that presumably came from Babylon around the year 100 BC.” Thus netzer refers to David’s direct descendants.