TABLETALK DEVOTIONS WITH R.C. SPROUL


TABLETALK DEVOTIONS WITH R.C. SPROUL

The Move to
Nazareth
====================
Matthew 2:19–23 “He went and lived in a city
called Nazareth, that what was
spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled: ‘He
shall be called a Nazarene’”
(v. 23).

As we finish our study of
Matthew 2, note how the evangelist has taught us
about God’s providence.
First, we should see that Herod’s hatred of Jesus and
slaughter of the young
boys in Bethlehem (vv. 16–18) parallel Pharaoh’s
attempt to kill Moses (Ex.
1:8–2:10). Moses was the mediator of the old
covenant, and in ordaining the
circumstances of the birth of Christ to be so
similar to Moses’ birth, our
Father has prepared His people to receive Jesus
as a new and greater Moses,
the mediator of a new and better covenant (Heb.
7:22).

Secondly, the
dreams of warning that Joseph and the magi experience (Matt.
2:12–13, 19–20,
22) show that God has sovereignly overruled man’s attempt to
destroy His Son. Herod’s attempt to kill Jesus has been unsuccessful. In fact,
it is Herod who
dies (in 4 B.C., dating the Savior’s birth therefore between 6
and 4 B.C.),
enabling Joseph and his family to return to Palestine (v. 21).

After
learning that Archelaus is ruling in Judea, Joseph takes Jesus and Mary
to Nazareth in Galilee (v. 22). This is wise, for Archelaus can be as ruthless
as his father Herod and might very well be a threat to
Jesus.

Matthew tells us the move to Nazareth fulfills prophecy, and yet
verse 23 does
not quote the Old Testament directly. The use of “prophets” and
not “prophet”
helps explains why this is so. Jerome, a famous biblical
scholar from the
early church, said Matthew, “in speaking of the prophets in
general…has shown
that he has not taken the specific words but rather the
sense from the
Scriptures” (Commentary on Matthew 1.2.23). The evangelist is
giving us a
general teaching about the Messiah found throughout the Old
Testament.

In Jesus’ day, Nazareth is considered a backwater village from
which nothing
good can come (John 1:46). To be from Nazareth brings scorn and
ridicule, and
many people question Jesus’ validity because of His hometown
(7:40–44).
However, there are many passages in Scripture that tell us the
Messiah will be
despised and afflicted (Isa. 53:1–3; Dan. 9:26a). Many would
find reason for
hating our Savior once they learn He is a Nazarene, and so in
settling in
Nazareth, Jesus begins to fulfill His work as
Messiah.

Coram deo: Living before the face of
God
========================================
Understanding how Jesus
fulfills the Old Testament means that we have to look
at more than just
isolated verses and proof-texts. As Matthew 2:23 indicates,
the apostles
teach that Jesus fulfills the broad themes, ideas, and stories
found
throughout the Old Testament. If we are to understand the vocation
Jesus
fulfills, we must be well-versed in the Old Testament. Take time this
week to
study the Old Testament sacrificial system or the exile.

For
further study:

Psalm 69:6–8

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