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Second Sunday after Christmas (1885)

Matthew 2:13-23 The life of our Savior has a twofold important purpose. First and foremost, it is substitutionary. Everything that Christ did, suffered, happened in our place, for our good. As a result we are saved from our sins, reconciled to God, have a valid righteousness before God and are thereby saved, we thus appropriate it in faith. But if we are now justified by faith and have peace with God, then Christ's life serves as an example for us. However, we ought not merely follow Christ in holy living, but also in cross and suffering; and not merely patiently and willingly bearing the cross according to His example, but let it redound at the same time to great consolation as we see how God brings all suffering to a wonderful, glorious outcome. From this side we want to consider and contemplate today's Gospel about the flight of Christ: How wonderfully God often leads His own in tribulations here, but how gloriously He finally leads everyone out; 1. How wonderful, dark ways of tribulation God often leads His own here. a. The wonderful ways of tribulation that God leads the little child Jesus in His flight to Egypt: . the great danger to life; . the arduous long journey; . the long stay in a heathen land; . the deep humiliation of Jesus in this flight and . the gruesome reason for such inappropriate child murder in Bethlehem. How wonderful! Everything seemed destroyed, what Christmas had preached about His divine glory; b. such wonderful, dark ways of tribulation often goes with His own here, . examples from Holy Scripture: Joseph's leadership to and in Egypt, Moses' flight; David, when he is anointed king, must for a time flee from Saul as an outlaw; the confessors of his name, the three men, he lets into the fiery furnace, throwing Daniel in the lions' den, as soon as Saul is a Paul, he must know how much he must suffer for the sake of Christ's name; . so it is today with true Christians, as soon as the Infant Jesus is born and man has become a partaker of the true joy of Christmas, instead of everything now going great for him as a child of God, misfortune only now begins with him; before he was honored, now he falls into ridicule and shame; before he was blessed in his calling, now everything goes against him; previously healthy, now often ill; previously happy in his family, now painful deaths, wayward children, poverty, debt; in short, God makes him similar to the suffering image of His dear Son. 2. but how glorious He finally leads everything out. a. how wonderful God leads it out with the flight of Christ through deliverance from danger1, through protection on the journey and safe return2; the glorious fruit of it: .

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Matthew 2:13-14. Matthew 2:20-21.

the fulfilling of the divine prophecies3; . reliable indicator that He was the promised Messiah; . blessed martyrdom of the little children of Bethlehem; . revelation of divine wrath over Bethlehem for the repentance of the ungodly parents; b. still equally glorious God leads out His own, because . He saves them and He should send an angel from heaven, . and thereby makes His Word certain and dear to them above all things4; . thereby receives it in proper humility, in the heavenly sense, in turning away from the world and in self-denial, patience and prayer, . leads them at last from all crosses in heavenly glory.5 All this is to prove faith-strengthening to the examples cited in the first part; He leads Joseph from the prison to royal honors, Daniel and the three men in the fiery furnace teach the heathen to know the true God, etc. Otto Hanser

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Matthew 2:15, 17-18, 23. Psalm 119:92. 5 Romans 8:18.

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