Advent Devotional | December 5, 2020
So he [Joseph] got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where 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.” Matthew 2:14–15
“One writer has counted 295 separate quotations of the OT in the NT. These make up about 4.5 percent of the entire NT, about 352 verses. Thus 1 out of 22.5 verses in the NT incorporates a quotation.” – K. Beale, Biblical Scholar
I love to reminisce. Whenever possible, I’ll take a detour to see an old neighborhood, remembering earlier years and events in my life. It is impossible for me to live my present and my future without including thoughts of my past. I am an “includer” by nature! My desire to make connections excites me, such as when I see the many links between the Old Testament and the New Testament. And as you can see in the quote above, those connecting points are numerous. And Egypt is significant.
Joseph and Mary took the baby Jesus to Egypt. Here, they found refuge from a looming threat to the life of their new son. Biblical Egypt had a complicated relationship with Israel and the people of God that stretched over thousands of years. Sometimes, Egypt was a place of security for God’s people. Had it not been for Joseph’s time in Egypt, Israel may have succumbed to the famine. In other instances, Egypt was a threat. After Joseph’s time, we know the people became oppressed, and God sent the plagues to free them. They came out of Egypt. They were meant to be God’s chosen example of obedience and relationship to the world. But as we know, they failed. That is the backdrop of Advent.
It is no coincidence that the earthly life of Jesus mimics the life of the nation of Israel. Out of Egypt came Jesus. He was tempted in the wilderness and baptized in the water. Sound familiar? Israel was too. Identified by God and the Biblical writers, Jesus is the obedient Son that Israel could not be. “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son,” exclaimed the prophet Hosea (Hosea 11:1). Matthew, however, applied that same exclamation to Jesus. Jesus came and answered the call. His obedience is our salvation.
Pastor Dave Mergens