The Visit of the Wise Men: 2:1-12.
(Read Matt 2:1-12).
Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the days of king Herod. Herod was an Edomite who became king by Roman decree and known as Herod the great. Bethlehem was only five miles south of Jerusalem. About that time the wise men from the east came to Jerusalem seeking the one who has been born king of the Jews. They were astrologers or priests from the east. They were divinely guided by the star and came to worship Christ in Jerusalem. God desires all people to worship Christ in spirit and truth (John 4:23). The creator of the universe has placed eternity in their hearts to seek God who is worthy of worship (Eccl 3:11). Many people are seeking God in wrong places. When Herod heard this he was deeply troubled and inquired where the Christ was to be born. The religious leaders told him “In Bethlehem of Judea” (Mic 5:2; Isaiah 9:6). Although God chose Israel as his special people to communicate God’s mercy and forgiveness to the rest of the world, they have failed to obey (Ex 19:6). Here Matthew is showing how the promise made to Abraham was fulfilling to all nations (Gen 12:3). The star appeared to wise men and guided them to Bethlehem. It is unlikely that this star was a natural thing since it led the wise men to Jerusalem and later to Bethlehem. It was a divine manifestation used by God to guide them. Jews of that day were anticipating the coming of their Messiah. The wise men experienced great joy in finding Jesus who is worthy of their worship. They worshiped him offering gold, frankincense and myrrh. They signify of Jesus' kingship, priesthood and suffering death. They recognized Christ's deity and his sinless perfection. Only those who recognize Jesus as God and Savior can worship him (Rom 10:9,13). They acknowledge Jesus as Lord and obey him. Jesus Christ is the virgin-born Son of God who is worthy of our worship. The ongoing mission of them is making worshipers of Jesus Christ from all nations. It is done through the preaching of the gospel. Like the wise men, those who believe in Christ find Jesus worthy of their worship. The greatest gift giver is God himself (2 Cor 9:15). Have you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Jesus Christ the only Savior.
The Escape to Egypt: 2:13-23.
(Read Matt 2:13-23; Luke 39-52).
King Herod was furious when he learned that the wise men went home another way. They were warned of God to do so. The Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream to flee to Egypt to escape the Herod’s attempt to kill Jesus. It was the fulfillment of the Prophecy of Hosea 11:1. Since this prophecy does not directly refer to Christ, the Matthew saw this prophecy as a type of Christ. God provides deliverance to his children. Herod was a man of brutality. He ordered the decree to slew boys who were two years and under. Here Matthew quotes Jeremiah 31:15. This also shows the suffering the nation of Israel had to go through in the future. When king Herod died, his son Archelaus, succeeded him. When Joseph learned that Archelaus was like his father, he was afraid. God warned Joseph in dream to go to Nazareth of Galilee to avoid him. So, the prophecy spoken by the prophet that Jesus would be called a Nazarene was fulfilled (Isaiah 11:1; 53:3). Joseph settled his family in Nazareth which was a Galilean village with negative reputation (John 1:46). Christ's entire life was marked with insults and rejection (Isaiah 53:3). He was despised by people (Mark 6:3-6). From the world’s standpoint, Jesus seemed unimpressive and foolish (1 Cor 1:22). But in him was hidden the wisdom of God (1 Cor 2:7). Jesus gladly embraced humiliation to identify with us. He did not claim celebrity status of a typical king. Jesus suffered rejection for the sake of our acceptance. He did not come to save the righteous but sinners. Are you saved? Do you recognize Jesus worthy of your worship?