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Matthew 2:13-23

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Introduction -
Suffering is a common experience all humans share in. From birth to life every human will experience their share of suffering. No amount of wealth will save us from suffering. Like death suffering is common to all humanity.
The holy family is no different than the rest of us when it comes to suffering. From the scandal of the Virgin Conception, to the long journey on foot during the ninth month of pregnancy, Mary the mother of Jesus understood human suffering.
Even Jesus Himself was acquainted with suffering. From midnight escape to Egypt to the nails hammered into his hands.
Why? Why do we suffer and what is the point of suffering? Today Matthew will take us through the journey of suffering in the holy family. And I hope we are able to see that God has given even our suffering purpose. So much purpose that one could say that suffering is a treasure.
But before we jump into that, we will examine the history of Matthew, as well as the purpose of today's passage to the first century Hebrew listeners.
We have a lot to cover so, let’s jump right into it today.
Let’s jump right into it today.


Verses 13-14
Matthew 2:13–14 ESV
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt
Departed due to a hit placed on the life of Jesus by Herod.
Left in the middle of the night to travel to Egypt (Most likely Alexandria.)
Around 350 mile walk.
A one to two month walk.
Matthew 2:15 ESV
and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
Hosea 11:1–3 ESV
When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more they were called, the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them.
Hosea 11:1 NLT
“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and I called my son out of Egypt.


Hosea is speaking of Israel -
Matthew uses it to speak of Jesus -
What is Matthew’s point - Jesus is the true Israel.
What Israel was called to do ( - Kingdom of Priests to a Prodigal planet).
Matthew 2:16 ESV
Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.
Herod has all the boy children ages 2 and under murdered in Bethlehem and the surrounding villages.
Though no writings have been discovered that confirm this story, it fits the nature of Herod the Great.
With the population of Bethlehem being around 400 - 500 and the surrounding villages making up another 200 the likely number of murdered boy children would be between 10-30.
Matthew 2:17–18 ESV
Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”
Matthew 17–18 ESV
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.” And the disciples asked him, “Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” He answered, “Elijah does come, and he will restore all things. But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist. And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he has seizures and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed. When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.” At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire. “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
Jeremiah 31:15–18 ESV
Thus says the Lord: “A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.” Thus says the Lord: “Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears, for there is a reward for your work, declares the Lord, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope for your future, declares the Lord, and your children shall come back to their own country. I have heard Ephraim grieving, ‘You have disciplined me, and I was disciplined, like an untrained calf; bring me back that I may be restored, for you are the Lord my God.
Matthew 2:


Again Matthew uses the Remez method of interpretation.
Jeremiah is using poetic language when he says Rachel is weeping.
Rachel was seen as the Matriarch of the nation of Israel.
Jeremiah is saying that the slavery to Babylon was such a time of suffering that Rachel wept in her grave.
Matthew uses this again to point out that the deaths of these children is a great a tragedy.
He is also again pointing out that in Jesus, Israel finds it’s fulfillment.
Matthew 2:19–23 NLT
When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. “Get up!” the angel said. “Take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead.” So Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and his mother. But when he learned that the new ruler of Judea was Herod’s son Archelaus, he was afraid to go there. Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for the region of Galilee. So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophets had said: “He will be called a Nazarene.”
After a few short months in Egypt the holy family again makes the long journey back to their home in Bethlehem. (Suffering)
Learning that Herod’s son Archelaus was now the ruler over Judea he turned his family towards Mary’s home town of Nazareth.
Matthew tells us they returned to Nazareth to fulfill the “PROPHETS”.
Yet Matthew does not quote any prophecy as he did previously.
There is no OT prophecy that tells us Messiah would live in Nazareth.
So, what is Matthew trying to say.
(Look at the ESV note on the slide.)
There is also one more analogy that Matthew is hinting at.
Nazareth is made up of a root word that means “Branch” Netzer
Jeremiah 23:5–6 ESV
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’
Isaiah 11:1 ESV
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
Matthew is hinting to two incredible facts.
The prophets all point to a suffering messiah. What better place than the obscure Nazareth to live. No fan fare, no one would think of the Messiah coming from there.
“Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
Matthew is also using a word play and pointing out that Nazareth is made up of the Hebrew word Branch.

What was Matthew trying to get across to the 1st century Hebrew audience?

Jesus is the fulfilled Israel -

Israel came out of Egypt - Jesus came out of Egypt.
Rachel weeps over Israeli Babylonian slaves - Rachel weeps over the children who were killed as Jesus escaped.
12 tribes of Israel - 12 Disciples of Jesus

Jesus is the new Moses or better yet, Moses was a type and foreshadow of Jesus.

Deuteronomy 18:15 ESV
“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen—
Deuteronomy 18:19 ESV
And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.
As Pharo killed the Hebrew children and Moses was rescued by going into the house of Pharo so, Herod killed the children and Jesus was rescued by Egypt.
As Moses left Egypt and with him the Hebrew children were freed from slavery and made into a new nation, Israel.
Jesus came out of Egypt and eventually lead people out of slavery to their sin and creating them into a Holy nation or Kingdom.
This idea of Jesus as the new Moses will be played out by Matthew in chapters 3-7.
Moses recieved the Torah (teachings) after 40 days on Mt Sion.
Jesus gave his interpretation of the Torah after fasting 40 days in the wilderness.
Moses set up 70 judges
Jesus sent out 70 disciples.
Moses prayed for a miracle to feed the Hebrews and bread fell from the sky.
Jesus fed 500 with a couple loafs of bread.
And there are many more we will see later in Matthew.

Matthew is telling His audience that this Jesus/Yeshua

Is the new or fulfilled Israel
and that Yeshua is the Greater Moses who has come to deliver us from slavery.
Not the slavery to nations but the slavery to sin.

What can we in the 21st century learn about God through this incredible story Matthew paints for us so well?

God is with us in our darkest moments.

Imagine how Marry must have felt –
She is a young virgin, impregnated by God through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Her future husband threatens to divorce her but then takes her as his wife because of a vision he had.
She then must leave too Bethlehem (90 mile walk) while at the end of her pregnancy.
Gives birth in a crowded stable
Joseph provides for a house but within a year or two, they then must leave amid night because the King has put out a hit for her new little boy.
During the two or three-month long journey to Egypt she gets word that all the boys 2 and under in Bethlehem have been murdered by Herod’s men.
She is now not only trying to protect her own son but must carry the weight of the deaths of all those little boys. For they died because of Herod’s fear of Jesus.
After only a few months in Egypt the family gets word that Herod has died and now they make the long journey back home.
Finally, instead of going back to Bethlehem where they had planned, they again out of fear of Herod’s son must move to Nazareth.
Everyone in Nazareth knows Mary was pregnant before she was married.
She is the scorn of the town.
She is the woman with the scarlet letter.
Imagine the talk Jesus has to hear about his mother as he was growing up.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Imagine the fear, the guilt and the burden Marry must have felt.
Imagine the prayers she would have been praying. “Why us Lord?” Help us Lord, save us Lord, Lord where are you.
Mary was caring for the hope of the world, the promise of God to all peoples and yet, she went through Hell on earth the first few years of the life of Jesus.
She lived in a n emotional roller coaster where she experienced delight, awe, fear, and guilt and likely many times at the same time.
Her life and the life of her baby was under constant threat and the burden of long, slow travel as they immigrated to Egypt out of fear of death and then back again.
Where is God in all of this?
She was holding Him.
In her suffering God was in her arms.
This was His promise, His plan, His doing and yet she did not experience comfort but rather torment.
Matthew is showing us that living in God’s perfect will does not mean we will not suffer.
On the contrary, often suffering comes when we are living in God’s will for our life.

But suffering has a purpose.

Our suffering is used by God to bring us to a place of absolute obedience.
The suffering of Jesus through his life gave him the mental strength to accomplish His purpose, death and resurrection.
You are not alone in your suffering.
God is always with you.
But instead of you holding Him, He is holding you.
Your suffering has a purpose -
God is using your suffering to form you.
He is using your suffering as a means to help you become fully obedient
He is using your suffering so he can accomplish His purpose in your life.
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