August 27, 2013

Scripture and Commentary, Wednesday after the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity

Morning – Psalm 17, 2 Sam. 15:1-12, 2 Cor. 3
Evening – Psalm 18:1-20, Mt. 2:13

Commentary, Matthew 2:13-23

Remember that a major point of Matthew’s Gospel is to show that Jesus is the Christ by showing Him as the fulfillment of Old Testament Scripture.  The first chapter, and the first half of chapter two give two very obvious examples of how Christ accomplishes this.  Tonight’s reading gives references that are not so obvious.  2:18 quotes Jeremiah 31:15.  Why is Ramah weeping for her children?  Because they are not.  They have been murdered and scattered and taken captive.  The verse refers to the conquest of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.  How can this apply to Christ?  It applies figuratively because Judeah is again weeping for her children.  An enemy has killed them, and terrible mourning has engulfed the people again, just as in the days of Jeremiah.  It is as though it is happening all over again.

Bishop J. C. Ryle says the flight to Egypt and the opposition of Herod show two things.  First , is the general opposition of worldly rulers to the cause of Christ.  Christ’s claim to be God give Him authority over kings and governments of men.  Thus, He is a threat to them.  His Law forbids theft and abuse of all kinds.  His Law establishes the natural, or, God-given, rights of all people.  The right to life, own property, enjoy the fruits of one’s labour, even the right to worship God, or not, are given to all people in God’s law.  Such rights often interfere with the desires and agendas of rulers and governments, so they oppose the Law of God, and God Himself.

Second, it shows Jesus as a “man of sorrows” from the very beginning of His earthly life and ministry.  The persecution of Herod and the flight to Egypt is an example of what would be a continuous part of Christ’s earthly life.  “The waves of humiliation began to beat over Him, even when He was a suckling child.”  They continued to beat upon Him until they had killed Him. But, says the Bishop in Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Matthew;

“The Lord Jesus is just the Saviour that the suffering and sorrowful need.  He knows well what we mean, when we tell him in prayer of our troubles.  He can sympathise with us, when we cry to Him under cruel persecution.  Let us keep nothing back from Him.  Let us make Him our bosom friend.  Let us pour out our hearts before Him.  He has had great experience of affliction.”