Two things stand out when reading the first two chapter of Matthew. First, there is the presence of the miraculous. In his introduction of Jesus, Matthew includes the element of God’s involvement. The beginning of His life is anything but normal.
From the very beginning, starting with His conception, Jesus’s life was extraordinary. His mother was a virgin; He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. An angel of the Lord, was a message from God, came to Joseph to tell him this. Then, a group of Magi knew when and where to find Him after His birth. Just think about that. Because of their knowledge of a legend and watching stars, they were able to find Jesus in the small town of Bethlehem. After finding Him, they were warned in a dream not to tell King Herod where to find baby Jesus. Joseph was warned through a dream when Jesus’s life was in danger because of Herod as well. He was told to flee to Egypt with Jesus and Mary, so he did. Finally, an angel of the Lord appears again when it is safe for them to return.
Dreams galore, right? Matthew is trying to get the readers’ attention. “This man is special! Even from the beginning of His life, it has been so. When it comes to this man’s life, God is involved. And if He is this involved, He probably has something significant to accomplish through Him.”
Second, there is a significant similarity between Jesus and another hero Matthew’s readers would have been aware of. In the book of Exodus, in the Old Testament, we find the incredible story of Moses. Moses was used by God to be the savior of the Hebrew people when they were slaves in Egypt. But before the burning bush, the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea and the encounter with God on Mt. Sinai - when God used Moses to save His people - God saved Moses.
Like Herod, there was a king in Egypt who went on a mission to wipe out the next generation of males. Both were driven by fear of losing their control. Pharaoh was afraid that the Hebrew people would become so numerous that they would be able to start a slave revolt and overtake the Egyptians. So, he decreed that all the Hebrew males should be killed. Sound familiar? Check out Matthew 2:16. But, just like with Jesus, God saved Moses from the death the wicked king intended for him. The midwives who helped the Hebrew women give birth ignored Pharaoh’s order and God protected them as they did. Then, after his birth, Moses’s mother put him in a basket in the Nile and send him down the river, knowing he would be found and killed if she kept him. He was found by none other than Pharaoh’s daughter, who took him into the palace as her own.
From the very beginning, Moses was protected by God because He had something significant in mind for his life. He would be the one to deliver God’s people from the slavery they experienced in Egypt. Centuries later, God would protect another child from harm. This time, it was His own Son, who would deliver His people from the bondage of their sin.
Aaron Vickroy, associate director DL