The story of Matthew 1-2 finds its roots in the Old Testament stories we heard as children in Sunday School. We all know the story line of the book of Exodus. In the first pages we find that while in Egypt Israel had been “fruitful and multiplied”, echoing God’s call to Adam and Eve. Israel became so many that Pharaoh became fearful and enslaved, even killed the sons, of all these people known as “God’s son” (Exodus 4:22-23).
But God raised up a deliverer by the name of Moses who called for Israel’s release. When Pharaoh refused to release Israel from slavery, God threatened to execute judgment on every first born son in Egypt. Keeping to His covenant love, God instructs the Israelites to spread the blood of a spotless lamb over their doorpost so they will be graciously spared from death. God judged Egypt, and He also delivered Israel out of slavery with His servant Moses leading the way.
It is interesting that here in Matthew we find that Jesus, God’s Son is immediately seen as a threat to Herod. Like Pharaoh, Herod became so fearful that he also executed all the male children in Bethlehem and the surrounding regions trying to kill God’s Son. But God called Joseph to flee and take Jesus into Egypt for safety. And once Herod died, Joseph is instructed to bring Jesus “out of the land of Egypt” echoing Hosea 2:15.
What you see is that Jesus is whispered in the Exodus account. Furthermore, if you are seeking Jesus, every story in the Old Testament points to Him. Jesus, God’s Son, is even more than the true and greater Israel. Jesus is also the spotless lamb whose blood is spread over our hearts to spare us from death (1 Peter 1:18-20). Jesus is the true and greater Moses who delivers us out of slavery to sin. This is the Good News, foreshadowed long ago in the book of Exodus.