Matthew 2:13-23 doesn’t seem very “Christmas-y”. When we think of Christmas, we think of love, peace, joy, food, child in pretty manger, etc. But in our study of Matthew 2, we are reminded of the harsh realities of the world we live in. We are reminded that Christ was sent to a World of Pain. As we’ve said in this series, CHRISTMAS FAITH GROWS FROM CHRISTMAS EVIDENCE. Here in our passage in Matthew 2:13-23, we discover Evidence that Jesus would be sent to a World of Pain.
Ever hear people say that, “You’ll be in a World of Pain?” Perhaps this Christmas, you are more aware than ever that you are living in a world of pain.
- Job loss
- Dream that died this year
- Relationship that is strained
- A marriage that is falling apart
- Another year without being married….
Matthew 2 tells us that Jesus came to us and was sent to us in a world of pain. He knows what it’s like to be hunted, hated, and chased. Everyone Can Draw Near to Christ By Seeing Examples of When He’s Been in a World of Pain.
Example #1: Exodus form Egypt—- Gives us “Reality Check.”
Jesus has an Exodus from Egypt. He was in a World of Pain in Egypt just as God’s people were in a world of pain in Egypt. He can sympathize with a difficult childhood. He can empathize with the trauma of a “less than ideal” or tragic upbringing. Why is this story in the Bible? To give us a reality check. Many of us think this world is Disney World. It’s not. Even when God himself came to the earth he made, and the people he created. He was hunted to be killed.
13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.” 14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, 15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
2:13-15. After the visit of the Magi, Joseph was warned by an angel of the Lord to take Mary and Jesus and flee to Egypt. This warning was given in a dream (the second of Joseph’s four dreams: 1:20; 2:13, 19, 22). The reason was Herod would be searching for the Child to kill Him. Under cover of darkness, Joseph obeyed, and his family left Bethlehem (see map) and journeyed into Egypt. Why Egypt? The Messiah was sent to and returned from Egypt so that the prophet’s words, Out of Egypt I called My Son, might be fulfilled. This is a reference to Hosea 11:1, which does not seem to be a prophecy in the sense of a prediction. Hosea was writing of God’s calling Israel out of Egypt into the Exodus. Matthew, however, gave new understanding to these words. Matthew viewed this experience as Messiah being identified with the nation. There were similarities between the nation and the Son. Israel was God’s chosen “son” by adoption (Ex. 4:22), and Jesus is the Messiah, God’s Son. In both cases the descent into Egypt was to escape danger, and the return was important to the nation’s providential history. While Hosea’s statement was a historical reference to Israel’s deliverance, Matthew related it more fully to the call of the Son, the Messiah, from Egypt. In that sense, as Matthew “heightened” Hosea’s words to a more significant event—the Messiah’s return from Egypt—they were “fulfilled.”
Christ Offers Us Comfort: First, He is the great high priest and God who can sympathize with our pain, bringing healing to us. He is the one who walked through the valley of the shadow of death from birth to grave. He will walk through your valley with you.
Christ Offers Us a Reality Check: Second, when you think life is out of control…when you think that you are out of God’s will because life is hard, God offers you a Reality Check. This world is a battle zone. It is not Disney World. It’s a difficult time. So if you are under siege, discouraged, or a little depressed this Christmas, know that you are not crazy. You are in touch with the reality that we live in a world of pain. If life is hard, you are in a difficult marriage season, draw near to his strength. Don’t be surprised by pain, draw near to Christ during it. We live in a world of pain, but you can have hope.
Christ Offers Us Hope: God predicted this in advance. He knew this was going to happen. God is not surprised by this evil. He is not surprised (though not happy) with this development. You can trust and know God is on the throne, even if it feels like he has left the building. Draw near to Christ this Christmas. He’s got all of this in control. You can have hope that He can bring good out of your Exodus moments too. He did it with Egypt. He did it with Christ. He can do it for you.
Last week a woman in our church shared ways she has been in pain over the past 2 years and how God’s joy and comfort have sustained her. The past 22 months have revealed blessings I would never have recognized if I had not received a diagnosis of multiple melanoma, a blood and bone cancer. I know God has me in His hands and has given me a renewed insight into what is valuable and eternal and what is temporal. The source of my everlasting joy is God (always with me). However my joy isn’t perfect here on earth, just ask my family! Difficulties and joy which I have experienced include: the shock of my diagnosis (He will provide a way), the questions of which treatment and subsequent side effects (Give it over to Him – with the choice of radiation, chemo and bone marrow transplant – and I am now on clinical trial for protocol – receiving free cancer drugs – monthly cost would be $8,000 – $10,000), forced “retirement” read -no income (God moved the management of my company to make an unprecedented “virtual position” for me through more than half of my 22 months of treatment – which has given me time to be with my family and friends, volunteer at Horizon, attend a high school reunion, and be an encourager to others), my immune system was totally wiped out (I’ve experienced no other life threatening conditions, life style changes I’ll admit. But a recent pulmonary function test revealed I’m 110% of normal! – a bone marrow biopsy this month revealed I have the bones of a 20 year old male! Wow He is magnificent and at work for my recovery.) I still have some days of when pain and fatigue will keep me in bed, but I’ll take those few days in exchange for the results we are having. I believe God has blessed me from day one. He trusts me with this cancer so that I may be used in this time to witness to others how much He loves unworthy me and how he draws us near every hour when we as Christians ask. Every hour we need Him.My joy is from knowing God in a more intimate way than ever before. God is number one in my winning this skirmish, my Faith is number two, the support and prayers of friends and family is number three, and an attitude – not of expecting God to do miracles daily – but not being surprised when he does!
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