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Christmas Message part 4: Out of Egypt I called my son

by on December 22, 2013

The-return-from-Egypt.-James-Tissot.

And there’s one other big surprise here, the way Matthew retells the exodus story. When I was a kid I loved the TV show Battlestar Galactica. Whole family huddle around the tube, our eyes popping out of our heads. Apollo, Boomer, our hero was always Starbuck. A bit of a cowboy. Got into fights, talked too plainly, always offending his superior officers. Starbuck. Recently I watched the new version of Battlestar G. Do you know what they’ve done to Starbuck, the hero? They’ve turned him into a chick. A woman! She still gets into fist fights and all that. But she’s a blond! What a shock to the system. Heaps of the old fans of the original series wrote in complaining about what they did to Starbuck!

Matthew does something similar here. One of the reasons the people of Israel loved the exodus story so much is because they were the main character. But let’s take a look at the main character in Matthew’s new version of the exodus story:

Out of Egypt I called my son: that’s how God described the original exodus. The son, that was Israel, the nation. God’s chosen people.

But look what Matthew does with that. V14.

Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt,  This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.” 

In the new version Matthew is telling us, God once again calls his son out from Egypt. But when the son comes out of Egypt, it’s just one boy. That little boy does the whole exodus by himself. Do you see what Matthew’s done? He’s changed the main character. That would be a shock to any Jewish person who heard this story.

You see, Israel thought the great hope for the world was – them. They thought they were the answer to the world’s problems. God’s chosen people! They would show the world the way to freedom. But we’ve seen haven’t we how Israel’s escape to freedom went horribly wrong.

out of Egypt I called my son. 
but the more I called them,
the more they turned from me;
 

Now God is calling out his son again. A new exodus. And this time, that son comes obediently. Faithfully. The more God calls, the more this son follows. He follows for his whole life, even when God calls him to go to the cross. Finally a true exodus. Someone has left sin behind and walked with God. But the son who followed is not the people of Israel! The story has a new main character: quite a surprise: It’s Jesus.

Friends the message of the gospel is this: there is someone who has achieved freedom and new life. Someone who can give you a fresh start. It’s JESUS. There is finally a way out of our sins and troubles. Jesus is the Saviour who can help us and heal us.

The people of Israel couldn’t do it. The rulers and politicians couldn’t do it: they often end up making things worse, like Herod. Time won’t improve things. We’re no better now than we were 2000 years ago. The bloodshed goes on around the world. Time won’t heal things. Jesus will heal things. He can heal you. Jesus can bring you out from the crushing weight of evil and fear and hatred. He can give you a new relationship with God as your father. He can heal your broken relationships with other people. You can have a fresh start.  It’s all free, you don’t have to earn it. You can’t deserve it. But it’s all been done, God has given us this gift, his son Jesus. And Jesus has done the job. He is our way to freedom.

Matthew retells the exodus story but he switches the locations, and he switches the main character. The message for us is, our lives are not the happy healthy places we pretend they are. We are not in control the way we like to think. We need to get real. But there is hope for the future. The exodus story got rerun, an updated version. Jesus did it. And this time, it worked. There is now freedom and new life available. And you are invited to join in. You just come near and give yourself to Jesus, to share in everything he has won for us.

From → General

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