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I told you so!

Imagine a country slightly bigger than France entirely covered in silver coins two feet high. One of the coins is gold and is hidden somewhere among all the other coins. Now imagine sending a blind man to search throughout the coins until he thinks he's found the coin that is gold. What are the odds that he will find the correct one? (Don’t think too hard, Mathematicians!)

His chances are 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. (Taken from Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Josh McDowell) Seems impossible, yet greater odds than this were overcome when Jesus Christ Himself fulfilled more than 300 prophecies concerning Himself and His life.

In our fourth installment of looking at the opening chapters of Matthew’s gospel we can clearly see that it all happened as God said it would.

Throughout Matthew’s gospel he wants to make it clear that in Jesus all of God’s purposes have come to fulfillment. Matthew 2:13-23 brilliantly shows us this.

1) The Angel’s words fulfilled

The first way God’s purposes are fulfilled show the protection of Joseph, Mary and of course baby Jesus. Joseph is spoken to divinely by an angel of the Lord in a dream three times in v13, 19 & 22. And the angel’s words were timely and urgent; Herod was gripped by jealousy and ordered that all boys under two years old in the area of Bethlehem would to be killed (v16). The situation looked like chaos but God wasn’t taking a gamble or going off course. The message from the angel was God’s plan to protect Jesus from Herod’s extreme plan.

Joseph must have been getting used to this kind of dream by now after the events of Matthew 1. Joseph and family were obedient and knowing God was in control obeyed the angel staying in Egypt until further notice from the Lord. Again God’s plan wasn’t derailed, the angel returned once more in a dream to give Joseph the green light to travel again safely. God in control again, as Joseph was a step ahead of worldly threats through God’s divine influence.

2) The Prophets’ words fulfilled

The message from the angel showed the short-term working out of God’s plan but the Old Testament prophecies in this section show a more long-term fulfillment of God’s plan. Have a look at v15, 18 & 23 to see prophecies fulfilled from hundreds of years before. God laid his plans out in the book of Hosea and Jeremiah and Matthew carefully shows how these prophecies came true. 1, 2 maybe 3 prophecies could be chance or luck. But seeing 300 has to shake us to see God’s plan and prophecies revealed! (Remember the coins)

v15 reveals that Israel’s experience was to be a pattern of the Christ – God’s Son called out of Egypt. v18 speaks from Jeremiah of a temporary sorrow followed by future hope. v23 draws together Old Testament themes of the Messiah being a despised nobody. All three fulfilled in Jesus.

It’s easy to lose our amazement at the prophecies that God’s plan came about just as he meant it. We hear year on year Isaiah 9 & 53 – but just remember the God who put all of these promises in place. He was so committed to providing a sin-bearing Messiah who would go the cross that neither Satan nor Herod stood a chance of sidelining God’s Plan A.

What a great reason to praise him this Christmas!