Vicar Matt Doebler
Matins Devotion: March 30, 2023
For all its strangeness, (what with talk of circumcision and bridegrooms of blood) this interlude between Moses’ call and Moses’ journey to Egypt also offers us a wonderful bit of clarity concerning the entire Exodus narrative. What is this all about? What’s the point of all that’s about to happen? What are the stakes?
Well, as the Lord plainly tells Moses, this entire ordeal is a custody battle over a son. The Lord’s son. The Lord commands Moses to speak to Pharaoh and say “Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son, and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.” If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.”
Here, the Lord makes it clear that he will not sit idly by while his son suffers in agony. He will not listen to the cries that come up from his son, Israel, and turn his back. He will not ignore the injustice that has been perpetrated by Pharaoh. If Pharaoh will not let his son, Israel, go, the Lord will act swiftly and with vengeance. He will inflict a punishment to fit the crime. He will step in and rescue his son from his distress so that he might bring his son out of the house of bondage and into a house of blessing.
In seeing all this. In seeing what lengths the Father is prepared to go to in order to reclaim his son Israel…it makes what we read in the gospel of Mark today even all the more amazing. Because there we see the Father not rescuing his Son—but giving his Son—his only begotten Son. We see the Father watch as his Son is mocked, and beaten, and crucified. But not once does the Father step in. Not once does the Father utter an ultimatum or a threat. Not once does the Father demand that they let his Son go.
In all this, we see a clear picture of what Jesus has done—or rather, what he has become for us. Paul tells us that “for our sake, God the Father made Jesus—the one who knew no sin—to be sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21) At the cross, the Father took his only begotten and beloved Son and made him Pharaoh’s son. He took the innocent son and declared him guilty. He took the obedient son, and exacted the vengeance that all of mankind’s disobedience had earned.
Why? So that he could lay claim to those who were not his sons. So that he could adopt them as his own. So that he could give them the Spirit by whom they have the right to call out to him, “Our Father, who art in heaven…” So that he could lead them on their exodus out of a house of bondage and into his household of blessing.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, then who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but treated him like the son of Pharaoh, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Rom. 8:31-32)
The custody battle is over. The father has claimed you as his own. The inheritance is yours. Amen.