Image: Isaiah, 1838, by Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier (1815-1891)
In preaching on Matthew 2:13-18 last Sunday we took note of two more “fulfillment passages” from the Old Testament Scriptures in the description of the nativity of Christ within the opening two chapters of Matthew.
An ordinary reader likely would not have perceived what was here prophesied, but the apostle Matthew saw it under the guidance of the Spirit.
As I noted in the message, it is striking that the prophetic citations in Matthew 1-2 come from across the body of the Old Testament prophetic writings, from Isaiah, to Micah, to Hosea, to Jeremiah:
Of his virgin birth, from Isaiah: “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel…” (Matt 1:23; Isa 7:14).
Of his birth in Bethlehem, from Micah: “And thou Bethlehem in the land of Juda … out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel” (Matt 2:6; Micah 5:2).
Of his flight into Egypt, from Hosea: “Out of Egypt shall I call my son” (Matt 2:15; Hosea 11:1).
Of Herod’s massacre of the innocents, from Jeremiah: “In Rama there was a voice heard … Rachel weeping for her children…” (Matt 2:18; Jer 31:15).
All these prophecies have a subtle cumulative impact, telling us that all the Scriptures were all pointing toward Christ.
It recalls what the risen Christ will later say to the two befuddled disciples on the way to Emmaus (emphasis added):
Luke 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
It is a striking thing to consider, especially in days like these, that God was providentially at work in history to bring forth his son to “save his people from their sin” (Matt 1:21). He had declared this in the prophets, though men were slow of heart to perceive it.
The comforting thing to know is that he continues to work out his will and purposes in Christ, to the end, “that God may be all in all” (1 Cor 15:28).
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle