Out of Egypt

David Bast

READ : Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23

“Out of Egypt I called my son.” (v. 15)

An angel of the Lord warns Joseph to take Mary and Jesus and flee for their lives to Egypt, of all places! Egypt was popularly known in the Old Testament as “The House of Bondage.” Now it will become a safe-house for God’s Son. Bethlehem, the City of David, is no longer safe for David’s descendants, while Egypt, the place of Israel’s oppression, becomes the life-saving refuge.

And the irony is not lost on Matthew, who quotes Hosea’s prophecy (“Out of Egypt have I called my son”). That originally referred to Israel’s deliverance during the exodus. But Matthew applies it to Jesus, Israel’s Deliverer.

So what is Matthew’s point? Why the geography lessons and the quotations from the prophets? Matthew wants to emphasize Jesus’ real identity. Jesus is God’s true Son, the embodiment of Israel, the actual subject of all the prophecies. More than that, Jesus’ life recapitulates Israel’s history. Jesus is born in Bethlehem like David. He travels down to Egypt to save his life, the same way Jacob and his household did. Then like Moses Jesus will come up from Egypt in a sort of second exodus. Matthew wants us to see that the whole story of the Bible—Old and New Testaments alike—is about Jesus. If you miss him, you miss everything.

PRAYER

Thank you, Lord, for such a great salvation, and such a Savior!