Jesus recapitulating Israel

This post is based on part of this Sunday’s lesson from Hosea 11 at Grace Anglican Church.

Hosea 11 begins with a familiar voice: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”  St. Matthew picks up this verse and applies to the point in Jesus’ life when he and his family left Egypt after having fled there for safety.  He wrote that this event in Jesus’ life was a “fulfillment” of the prophet Hosea’s writings.  When you read the book of Hosea, you’ll find a bunch of teachings identifying the unfaithfulness of Israel and the faithfulness of God, particularly with the image of a jealous groom and an adulterous bride.  By applying the beginning of chapter 11 to Jesus, St. Matthew enables us to see an additional layer of understanding: a typological reading of Hosea 11:1-11.

(If you need a refresher on what a typology is, I explained it in this post.)

By comparing Israel’s exit from Egypt to Jesus’ exit from Egypt, we find a beautiful relationship between Israel and Jesus.

  1. Israel was called out of Egypt (Hosea 1:1)
    Jesus was called out of Egypt (Matthew 2:15)
  2. Israel grows away from God (Hosea 11:2-7)
    Jesus grew closer to God (Luke 2:52)
  3. Israel suffered for their unrighteousness (Hosea 11:5-7)
    Jesus suffered for his righteousness (Luke 23:40-41)
  4. Israel is rescued after suffering exile (Hosea 11:8-9)
    Jesus is rescued after suffering death (Luke 24:1-35)
  5. Israel glorifies God after (Hosea 11:10-11)Jesus glorifies God after (Luke 24:36-53)

The parallel between the two at each step of the way is profound, and well worth further exploration beyond this brief summary.

Also, noticing the second “return from Egypt” in Hosea 11:10-11 shows that the concept of “returning from Egypt” is not solely the literal Exodus story, but also the reality of being rescued from any place or state of oppression, such as the Assyrian Empire that conquered Israel soon after Hosea’s preaching.  It also sets up the paradigm for our own “calling out of Egypt” as Christians.

  • We who are in Christ have been brought out of Egypt already through Baptism our bondage to sin has been broken, and we’ve come out darkness into Christ’s marvelous light.  This is very much the message hit upon in last Sunday’s sermon.
  • We will also be brought out of Egypt again.  At the resurrection of the dead, when all shall be put to right – the unrepentant sinners judged guilty, God’s faithful judged innocent – we will at last no longer be subject to suffering and death, just as Christ is now!

That is the Christian hope; that is the Gospel.  That is what we must live; that is what we must share.

About Fr. Brench

I'm an Anglican Priest and a sci-fi geek. Therefore, I write about liturgy & spiritual formation, theology & biblical studies, and Doctor Who. But I keep those blogs separate so I don't confuse too many people!
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