Traveling with a Newborn

“And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 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.’” (Matthew 2:14–15, ESV)

Taking a trip to a foreign country with a newborn baby is not usually high on any new parent’s wish list. But that’s exactly what Joseph and Mary did with baby Jesus. They made this long, dangerous journey, not for any personal enjoyment, but because the life of their son was in danger from King Herod.

But what Joseph and Mary may not have realized at the time was that, in God’s sovereignty, this trip was going to allow the life of their baby to parallel the life of the nation Israel. This would “fulfill” a statement made by the prophet Hosea in the latter half of the eighth century BC. The nation Israel, as the “son” of God (Exod. 4:22: “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD, Israel is my firstborn son.’”), had not received the promised blessings of God, nor had they been able to be a blessing to others, because they had refused to obey (Hos. 11:2). Now God was about to bring blessings by means of His ultimate Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew, writing to Jews, took care in his Gospel to demonstrate the divinely orchestrated parallels between these two “sons.” But in Jesus there would be no disobedience, no lack of commitment to do His Father’s will. While son Israel had failed and disobeyed, Son Jesus would obey and be victorious.

Though scholars debate the exact nature of the hermeneutics employed by Matthew in using Hosea 11:1, one thing is clear: Jesus, God’s Son, was delivered from the wrath of an evil king so that someday he might become the KING of God’s kingdom. This Christmas let’s give thanks for God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, whom God the Father protected as a baby. Let’s praise Him who has succeeded where Israel (and you and I) fail in our obedience. Jesus Christ is our victorious KING.