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DAY 7: THE GLORY OF THE LORD ACCORDING TO THE ANGEL OF THE LORD

Dyegyong thyi Nga Khyee n Fa Maleka Nga Khyee

Gyong | Matthew 1:18–25; 2:13–15, 19–23

 

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet …

– Matthew 1:22

 

The good news brought by the angel of the Lord in Matthew 1 and 2 is what my people in Southern Kaduna, Nigeria, greatly needed. As African traditional worshippers, their life was guided by the ancestors, spirit beings, and elders of the communities. By the sovereignty and providence of God, Christian missionaries came to our area in the early 1930s with the gospel of Jesus Christ. In Matthew 1–2, we read about significant advances in that gospel’s unfolding and see a spirit being, the angel of the Lord, in its rightful place.

Through his ministry to Joseph, the angel of the Lord brings about the plans and purposes of God. The text tells us three times that the result of the angel’s intervention fulfilled what God had revealed through the prophets (1:22; 2:15, 23). Before God created the heavens and the earth, in His foreknowledge, He made a salvation plan for humanity (Ephesians 1:4; Revelation 13:8). He first promised the seed of the woman, Jesus, who would crush the head of the serpent, Satan, when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15). God reiterated that promise in different times and ways to the patriarchs and through the prophets,

and the birth of Jesus fulfilled God’s promises and prophecies of the coming Saviour of the world. The ministry of the angel of the Lord in Matthew 1–2 glorifies God, the promise–keeper, who honours His Word and who is trustworthy, reliable, and dependable.

At the same time, these fulfilled prophecies teach us important things about God’s saving work in Jesus. No matter our tribe, tongue, or nation, they bring comfort and encouragement as we prepare to celebrate His birth.

Jesus identifies with our experience and our struggles, so we can have peace. “Out of Egypt I called my son” (Matthew 2:15) is a quote from Hosea 11:1 and references the historical fact that Israel sojourned in Egypt before God delivered them and brought them to the promised land. Jesus, too, sojourned in Egypt because He came to be and do what God’s people were meant to be and do. Additionally,

His being called a Nazarene (Matthew 2:23) likely refers to the fact that he would be despised and looked down on, not elevated and beloved, in His earthly ministry. Jesus identified with the lowly, the vulnerable, and the have–nots as He came to restore peace to His world.

Jesus saves from sin, so we can rest in His sacrifice. The angel of the Lord delivered a message about naming Mary’s child. “Jesus” means “God saves.” He saves people from their sins. His conception by the Holy Spirit and the holy life He lived means that He was able to offer Himself as a perfect, sinless substitute for sinful humanity. In Adam, all human beings inherit sin and unrighteousness and therefore face God’s wrath and death. But in Christ Jesus, the Second Adam, by grace through faith they inherit obedience and righteousness and therefore God’s delight and eternal life. The salvation of Jesus is offered to human beings for them to believe and accept Jesus as Saviour and Lord.

Jesus is with us until the end, so we don’t need to fear. The angel of the Lord’s ministry brought about the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy about Immanuel, which means “God with us.” God’s abode is no longer apart from us. His presence is with us and within us. When we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God comes and lives in us by His Holy Spirit. Just as Jesus was born through the power of the Holy Spirit, so also a Christian receives a second birth through the power of the Holy Spirit when one believes. More than that, our Immanuel is always with us even to the end of the age. Some people look for protection and assurance not from God but from lesser beings and mundane things. God is our place of refuge and protection.

In Matthew 1–2, we can see and be encouraged by the sovereignty of God that protected Jesus, using His angel messenger to do so. The providence of God guides our lives through the contingencies and the unseen and unpredictable forces and powers in our lives. The hand of God is always with us in our history. We need not rely on tribal ancestors or modern gurus to offer protection or show us the way because the sovereign God covers us and His providence directs and guides us.

 


REV. DR YUSUFU TURAKI
Jos, Nigeria

The Reverend Dr Yusufu Turaki is a Langham–published author who currently serves as Professor of Theology and Social Ethics at ECWA Theological Seminary (JETS) in

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