A Child's Lenten Meditation-Day 24-Jesus is the new Exodus

1 The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, 2 as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: "I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way"-- 3 "a voice of one calling in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.' " 4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6 John wore clothing made of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And this was his message: "After me comes the one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

The Baptism and Testing of Jesus

9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." 12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

Jesus Announces the Good News

14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!"

Remember when we read the story of the Exodus? Israel came out of Egypt and passed through the waters and then spent 40 years in the wilderness. To Pharaoh, God talks about Israel as His firstborn son. Exodus 4:22 " Then say to Pharaoh, 'This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son,"
The prophet Hosea says, "1 "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son." (Hosea 11:1)


After Jesus was born his parents had to flee to Egypt to protect him from King Herod who wanted to kill him. " When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." 14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son.""


The writer of Matthew compares Jesus to Israel. So does Mark. There are lot's of reasons why.


Jesus, came up out of Egypt, passed through the waters of the Jordan in Baptism, God says, "this is my son", and then he spends 40 days in the desert fasting and praying. One day for each of the years that Israel spent in the wilderness. Jesus is the new Israel. He is God's son and he goes through what Israel goes through.


How long is Lent again?


Oh right, also 40 days.


40 days of fasting as Jesus fasted. Forty days of identifying ourselves with Israel. Forty days of remembering our captivity and bondage.  Forty days of preparing for the day of Atonement, when the sins of Israel are to be accounted for.


It's almost like someone planned it.


After 40 days, Jesus is tempted by Satan. But unlike Israel, Jesus does not give into temptation. Jesus wins where Israel failed. Jesus defeats Satan there, who has ruled the earth for so long. But more on that tomorrow.


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By way of a bibliography for this day's post may I point you parents in the direction of Isaiah's New Exodus in Mark by Rikki Watts0 a brilliant and humble man we had the privilege of knowing while Aaron was at seminary.

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