Our Lord would have all His people rich in high and happy thoughts about Him. It is His pleasure that His espoused ones should be delighted with His beauty. We are not to regard Him as a bare necessity like bread or water, but as a luxurious delicacy, as a rare and ravishing delight. To this end He has revealed Himself as the “pearl of great price” in its peerless beauty, as the “bundle of myrrh” in its refreshing fragrance, or the “rose of Sharon” in its lasting perfume, as the “lily” in its spotless purity.
As a help to high thoughts of Christ, remember that beyond the skies, where things are measured by the right standard, Christ is held in the highest estimation. Think how God esteems the Only Begotten, His unspeakable gift to us. Consider what the angels think of Him, as they count it their highest honor to veil their faces at His feet. Consider what the blood-washed think of Him, as day without night they sing His well deserved praises. The more loftily we see Christ enthroned the more lowly we are when bowing before the foot of the throne, the more truly will we be prepared to act our part towards Him. High thoughts of Him increase our love. Therefore, think much of your Master’s excellencies. Study Him in His primeval glory, before He took your nature on Himself! Think of the mighty love which drew Him from His throne to die on the cross! Admire Him as He conquers all the power of hell! See Him risen, crowned, glorified! Bow before Him as the wonderful, the counselor, the mighty God; for only thus your love to Him be what it should.
This Christmas Sunday morning we will be actively engaged in just such an enterprise as we look at the fourth descriptive name of Jesus that Matthew gives us – the Deliverer (Mt. 2:13-15). Drawing upon his knowledge of God’s word and the audience to whom he was writing, Matthew sets forth in three verses a principle feature of Jesus’ glory.
As many of you know, Matthew writes his gospel using the template of the Pentateuch – the books of Moses. Indeed, the similarities between the five books of Moses and the 29 chapters of Matthew are impressive. But nowhere is the parallel more clearly seen than in Matthew’s presentation of the aftermath of Jesus’ birth. Immediately following the announcement of Jesus’ birth to Joseph in a dream, Matthew launches into the story of Herod’s depravity, the visit of the Magi, and the flight of Joseph and his family into Egypt. And it’s here in verses 13 through 15 that we see a fascinating picture of Jesus as God’s greatest Deliverer.
It’s a serious and shortsighted mistake to limit Jesus’ deliverance to one’s conversion experience. While being born again by the Spirit of God is essential, it is only the beginning of the full scope of the deliverance offered to us in Christ. A fuller vision of His deliverance is our aim this week.
In preparation for Sunday’s message you may wish to review the last three Sunday’s messages on Jesus’ identity in Matthew – “Immanuel” (Mt. 1:18-23), “Shepherd” (Mt. 2:1-6), and “Comforter” (Mt. 2:7-12; 16-18). In addition you may wish to consider the following:
1. The significance of Moses to Israel.
2. What similarities can you identify between Moses and Jesus?
3. Without Moses where would Israel be?
4. Why does the angel come to Joseph in three dreams in Matthew and to Mary in a vision in Luke?
5. What is the significance of the timing of this second angelic nocturnal encounter?
6. What is the significance of Egypt in the life of God’s people?
7. What was God’s purpose in delivering Moses from the Nile? Whose idea was it?
8. The Hebrew word for Deliverer is “Moshia” stemming from “Yasha”. Can you find the meaning and connection of these words?
9. What is the significance of the unusual order of the angel’s words in verse 14?
10. What is the significance of the timing of the angelic announcement and the escape into Egypt?
11. Why does Matthew only quote the second half of Hosea 11 in verse 15? What problem has this posed through the years?
12. What role do the hands of the deliverer (Moses and Jesus) play in their deliverance?
13. How is the deliverance of Jesus greater than the deliverance of Moses?
See you Sunday – Merry Christmas!