Wednesday, October 19, 2016

His own did not receive Him...


We saw on Sunday a number of parallels between Moses and Jesus.  But there was one that we did not have time to develop.
When Moses came upon the two Hebrews struggling and said to the aggressor, “Why do you strike your companion?”, he answered, “who made you a prince and judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” (Exo 2:13-14).  We might have expected Moses to be received as a hero among the Hebrews but by this response it appears that he is unwanted. 
And this is but a taste of what Moses will receive from the Israelites once he is officially their leader.  They will complain about Moses’ interference before the exodus (5:20-21), just before the crossing of the Red Sea (14:11-12), and just after the crossing of the Red Sea (15:24; 17:1-7).  In Num 12:1-16, his own brother and sister will oppose him.  The people will refuse to enter the Canaan land (Num 13:1-33) and will threaten to choose a new leader to take them back to Egypt (Num 14:1-4).  All of this will take place in the midst of miraculous acts of salvation, preservation, and provision never seen before.  As Yahweh says to Moses in Exo 32:9, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people.”
So we could say that Moses came to his own but his own did not receive him.  Contrast that with the reception he received after merely running off some bullies in Midian.  The priest of Midian brought Moses into his house, shared a meal with him, and made him part of the family, giving him his daughter for a wife (Exo 2:15-22).  His own people treated him as an unwanted nuisance, but when Moses went to those who were not his people, he was honored as a heroic deliverer. 
The parallel with Christ is obvious.  John 1:11 says of Jesus, He came to his own, but his own people did not receive him.  All four Gospels note the cool reception that Jesus received among the Jews.  In recent years, we found this to be a prominent theme of Matthew.  The Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah and the latter chapters show Jesus teaching via parables that the kingdom would be taken from them and given to another people, the Gentiles (Matt 21:41-44).  Certainly, there were those among the Jews who believed in Christ during His ministry and after His ascension, as recorded in the book of Acts.  But the Jews’ rejection of Christ is what provided for the extension of the gospel to the Gentiles.
As tempting as it may be to throw stones at the Jews for their blindness, and though they are culpable for their rejection of the Christ, we must recognize that this was part of God’s sovereign plan to bless all nations through Abraham (Gen 12:1-3).  Paul teaches that in making the promise to Abraham to bless all nations, God had in mind that He would justify the Gentiles by faith through the preaching of the gospel to them (Gal 3:8-9).  But the kingdom would not have been extended to the Gentiles had the Jews not rejected it.  This truth – that by the inclusion of Jews and Gentiles into the one church, God will save all His people – prompts Paul to revel,
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!  For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?  Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things.  To him be glory forever. Amen. (Rom 11:33-36)
Praise God for this and many other opportunities we’ll have to consider our great exodus in Christ as we study Exodus.

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