Matthewby Mike Raiter
Nothing takes God by surprise. That is what we mean when we say God is sovereign. Nothing in the life of Jesus took God by surprise. It was all ordained and spoken about in the Old Testament. In Jesus, God's promises find fulfilment. In Him the shadow becomes reality.
The early life of the Lord Jesus is a story of divine guidance. Through a dream God guides Joseph to marry his fiancée, who is pregnant through the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20). Through a star He guides Gentile magi to come and worship the King of the nations (Matthew 2:2). Through another dream He warns them not to return to Herod (v. 12). Now through two more dreams God acts to protect His Son (vv. 13, 22). An infamously cruel despot, Herod ruthlessly tries to protect his throne and orders the murder of all small boys in Bethlehem. But nothing takes God by surprise. He directs Joseph to flee to Egypt (v. 13), and then eventually to the safety of Nazareth in Galilee (vv. 22-23).
Matthew is showing us how to read the Old Testament. Jesus taught His disciples that all the Scriptures point forward to Him (Luke 24:44). Matthew gives us more examples of this. The genealogy wonderfully made the point that Israel's history, the promises to Abraham, the kingdom under David, and the tragic exile, all pointed forward to the Lord Jesus, who is the true son and heir of Abraham, the true king, and the true Israel who returns from exile (Matthew 1:1-17). Now we see how even particular events in our Lord's life, such as the escape to Egypt and the Bethlehem massacre, were spoken of by the prophets (vv. 15, 18). The only way to rightly read the Bible is through Christ-focused lenses.
The persecution of Christians has never been as widespread as today. Modern-day Herods still seek to destroy those they see as a threat to their power. Yet God is on the throne and nothing takes Him by surprise. He protected Jesus so that He might fulfil His divine mission, and His guidance and timely provision enable us to complete the work He has for us.
What do we mean when we say the Old Testament points forward to the Lord Jesus? How often do you think of the Lord Jesus when you read the Old Testament?
There are over 50 million refugees in the world today. How can we appreciate this contemporary crisis, considering that the Lord Jesus himself spent His early years as a political refugee?