What does Moses have to do with Christmas?
At first glance, you are probably sitting there thinking “Not much.”
I have a nativity scene at home and there is not a wild man with a staff calling down plagues all around the manger.
But the way Matthew records the birth of Christ in Matthew 2:13-23 is intentionally written to bring up all these echoes of Moses.
All these hints and bread crumbs that hint at who Christ is and what He would ultimately do in delivering God’s people.
In Deuteronomy 18 God promised to raise up a prophet like Moses to speak on behalf of God to all the people (Deut.
This would be THE Prophet who would stand as a Mediator between God and the people and would ultimately bring the fullness, the consummation, of all that Moses was and did...
Christ is that Prophet.
He is the ultimate fulfillment of Moses and all his work.
He is everything Moses pointed to and more.
Moses is just a picture of all that Christ is and does in delivering us from all our sins.
And that’s the BIG IDEA I want you taking away from today...
Jesus is the True and Greater Moses who delivers God’s people once and for all from all their sins.
The question we want to answer today is How?
How does Moses point to Christ specifically in how Matthew hints at Moses in the birth of Christ.
These are not immediately obvious on the surface, but I think as we dig into how Matthew has structured and organized this passage, they will become clear.
There are three sections of this passage where Matthew relates a story about the birth of Christ and then concludes it with how that story fulfilled some prophecy from the Old Testament.
And in those fulfillment passages, and more specifically in the wider context of those fulfillment passages, I think Matthew gives us echoes of Moses.
Small hints that only come to fruition later in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
Things that relate to back Moses but ultimately point forward to Christ and who He is and what He would ultimately do as the New and Greater Moses who delivers God’s people once and for all from their slavery to sin and give them eternal life.
So let’s start with point number 1 to see how the Birth of Christ ultimately points to a Greater Moses and promises that Jesus is...
The True Deliverer of a Greater Exodus.
The True Mediator of a Greater Covenant.
And the True Sacrifice of a Greater Atonement.
Point number 1...
I. Jesus is the True Deliverer of a Greater Exodus
Matthew 2:13-15 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.”
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.”
To catch you up to speed, remember where we are.
The Magi, pagan astrologers who were far off from God, came a long way from the east to worship Christ, the King of the Jews.
The Savior-King of the world who would save His people and make all things new.
And these Magi are a picture God’s grace to the nations.
A picture of how God, by His grace, brings all those who are far off and dead in their trespasses in sins near in Jesus Christ.
He is the Savior of all men, whether Jew or Gentile.
And after worshiping Him, the Magi leave, but instead of going back to Herod, they head home another way because God had warned them in a dream that Herod wanted to use Magi to find out where the Messiah was so that he could kill Him and hold onto his throne.
After this, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream.
In fact this happens several times throughout this story, and this is important because it shows that God is sovereignly working to carry out His promises to save His people from their sins despite the plans of Herod and other wicked men.
This tells us that God is always faithful to His promises and does whatever it takes to bring to fulfillment so that not one of them would fall to the ground.
Do we have that faith?
That God is faithful to all His promises no matter how dark or bleak things my look?
Well this angel warns Joseph to rise and flee to Egypt.
To get out of town as fast as he can because Herod was about to search for the child in order to kill Him.
So what does Joseph do?
He rose, took the child, and fled by night to Egypt.
Look at Joseph’s faith.
The Lord speaks and he follows.
That is how it should be for all of us.
And then Matthew tells us the broader purpose of all of this.
This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my Son.”
This is a quote from Hosea 11:1 which says When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.
And in the context of Hosea, this is not a future prediction of Christ and what Christ would do, but it is a passage about how God saved Israel in the Exodus.
How He called them out of Egypt and set them apart as His chosen, covenantal people.
Which should make you ask, why does Matthew quote this passage and apply it to Christ?
Why does he see this passage about the exodus as a prophecy about the future Messiah?
Matthew does this to say something very intentional here.
In the birth of Christ, he’s wanting to explicitly tie Christ and His work from the very beginning of His life to the Exodus of God’s people from Egypt.
And then he says this is the fulfillment of that Exodus because he wants us to know without a shadow of a doubt that Christ is the true and ultimate fulfillment of the Exodus and all that it represents.
So what was that?
The Exodus was the redemption of God’s people from slavery in Egypt to bring them out of that slavery into the Promised Land to live with God and be His covenant people.
God raised up Moses as a Deliverer and rained down plague upon plague on Egypt until Pharoah finally let Israel go.
And then when Pharoah change his mind, God delivered them once and for all by parting the Red Sea and bringing Israel through on dry ground.
The Exodus story is a miraculous deliverance of God for His people, and it came to define what salvation was for the Jews.
All throughout the Old Testament, the Exodus became a shadow or a type of how God would ultimately save His people, not just from slavery in Egypt, but from their sins through the Messiah.
The Messiah would be a New Moses.
A New Deliverer who would lead God’s people in a New and Greater Exodus and give His people rest.
So all tied up in the Exodus are these themes of slavery, deliverance, freedom, life, salvation, and blessing.
Communion with God and rest in the Promise Land as God’s covenant people.
And all of these beautiful promises come together fully and ultimately in Jesus Christ.
All that Messianic hope for a New Exodus and New Deliver from spiritual slavery to our sin, that hope Matthew says, is Jesus.
One of the things that Matthew does in His gospel is show Christ as the True and Faithful Israel.
Out of Egypt, I called my Son.
Well what happened after the Exodus.
The people disobeyed God in the wilderness and so God cursed them to wander in the wilderness for 40 years.
Everyone from the Exodus generation besides Joshua and Caleb died off (Numbers 14:29-30).
None of them saw the Promised Land because of their lack of faithfulness.
In fact, if you keep reading Hosea 11, verse 2 immediately laments how the more God called Israel, the more they went away
But what did Christ do?
He came out of Egypt, picturing the Exodus, and one day went off into the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights to be tempted by the devil.
But unlike faithless Israel, Christ was faithful.
He obeyed God and held fast to His Word, and ultimately He was faithful to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Now here’s why all that matters.
As the True Israel, Christ obeyed where Israel had failed.
And by His obedience, He earned the right on behalf of everyone that puts their faith in Him, to enter the God’s true and heavenly Promise Land of eternal life.
As the True Israel and representative head of the true people of God, Christ’s faithfulness becomes our faithfulness.
His obedience becomes our obedience.
Through faith in Him, we are delivered from all our sins in the True and Greater Exodus, and by His faithfulness we get to inherit the fullness of everything the Promise Land represented: eternal life
Jesus is the True Deliverer of a Greater Exodus.
In Him, we are freed from our slavery to sin and death and brought into eternal life.
That’s what the Exodus was all about.
Deliverance from slavery into the Promise Land.
And now in Christ, once and for all.
we have the true and ultimate fulfillment of that Deliverance.
And how do we know?
How do we know that Christ has truly delivered us from all our sins?
Because Christ is our Passover Lamb.