December 29

Matthew 2:13-23

“Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, ’Out of Egypt I have called my son.’” vss. 14-15

Matthew was a master prooftexter! It was extremely important to him that the events of Jesus’ life have some basis in the Hebrew scriptures, so he tells his Jewish readers that Jesus’ birth and the subsequent chain of circumstances had been foretold by the prophets of old. The flight to Egypt is backed by an obscure verse from Hosea that in context is a reference to the exodus. Matthew uses it because he wants to make a connection between Jesus and Moses. Just as Moses the great leader of Israel came out of Egypt and gave them the law from Mt. Sinai, Jesus comes out of Egypt and begins his ministry by sitting down on a mountaintop and giving the beatitudes. While we may disagree with the way Matthew uses scripture there’s no doubt that he has written a compelling gospel. His Jesus speaks with authority and in the Sermon on the Mount summarizes the life of discipleship in language that is both challenging and illuminating. If we were to live our lives in accordance with the principles of that sermon the world would be changed for good. Matthew’s exegesis may be contrived but the message gets directly to the core of the gospel.

Thought for the Day: What is proof texting and when am I most likely to use it?

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