Who is Jesus? According to Matthew 2:

Astrological signs announced the birth of the Messiah, King of the Jews. The maji responded by seeking this new born king in order to give him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. King Herod responded fearfully and killed all children born near Bethlehem who were under the age of two. God sent an angel an additional three times to give Joseph directions to relocate his family in order to protect the child's life.


Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy. He was born in Bethlehem of Judah, as foretold in the prophecy of Micah 5:2-4, which also said that he would have an ancient origin, rule Israel, care for and feed his flock, be recognized as great everywhere, be one of peace, and bear the majesty of God's name. He spent his early years as a child in Egypt. Once Herod died his family moved to the town of Nazareth in Galilee. Thus fulfilling both the prophecy of Hosea 11:1 and the historical type of the Israelites being called out of Egypt, as well as the expectation that the Messiah would come as a branch or Nazareth from the family of Jesse and be filled with the Spirit of the LORD (Isaiah 11:1-2). Jesus and his family were also refugees, fleeing from the wrath of Herod, and fulfilling the strangely depressing few words of Jeremiah 31:15 which interrupt a longer prophecy of hope, and herald in a time of restoration, redemption, fruitfulness, fulfillment of prophecies, and return from exile.




Big Idea: The circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus testify to the fact that he is the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies of Scripture.



Profound Identity:

  • Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Judea (Matthew 2:1).
  • Jesus was born during the time of King Herod (Matthew 2:1).
  • Maji/astrologers/wise men from the East recognized Jesus as the king of the Jews (Matthew 2:1-2).
  • There was a star that signified his birth (Matthew 2:2).
  • King Herod recognized that the king of the Jews would be the promised Messiah. Thus royalty or national government leaders feared Jesus' birth (Matthew 2:3).
  • Scribes knew that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, Judea (Matthew 2:4-5).
  • Jesus birth in Bethlehem was a clue to his identity as the Messiah (Matthew 2:6).
  • Jesus would be a ruler of Judah (Matthew 2:6).
  • Jesus would shepherd God's people - Israel (Matthew 2:6).
  • The star that signified the birth of the king of the Jews "stopped over the place where the child [Jesus] was" (Matthew 2:9).
  • Mary was Jesus' mother (Matthew 2:11).
  • The maji knelt and paid homage to Jesus as a child (Matthew 2:11).
  • Jesus received gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrhh from the maji (Matthew 2:11).
  • God spoke to people in dreams regarding the circumstances surrounding Jesus (Matthew 2:12-13).
  • Herod intended to kill Jesus (Matthew 2:13).
  • An angel of the Lord told Joseph to move the family to Egypt in order to protect Jesus' life (Matthew 2:13).
  • Joseph obediently protects Jesus by moving the family at God's command (Matthew 2:13-14, 19-22).
  • Jesus grew up in Egypt until the death of Herod, which was a fulfillment of prophecy (Matthew 2:13-15).
  • Jesus is God's son (Matthew 2:15).
  • The story of Israel points to the story of Jesus (Matthew 2:15).
  • Many children died in an attempt by Herod on Jesus' life (Matthew 2:16-18).
  • The circumstances surrounding Jesus early escape from genocide fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah (Matthew 2:18).
  • An angel welcomed Jesus and his family back to Israel, after the death of Herod (Matthew 2:19-21).
  • Jesus was a child during the time of Archelaus, the son of Herod (Matthew 2:22).
  • After leaving Egypt, Jesus was raised in the town of Nazareth, in the district of Galilee, in Israel (Matthew 2:22-23).
  • Jesus was called a Nazorean. This also fulfilled prophecy (Matthew 2:23).

Prayer:

Lord, I am amazed as I read the story of the early circumstances of your life. From the very beginning the world was against you, yet God took great care to protect you. I can't even imagine what life must have been like for your human family. What a great responsibility? Yet, what an amazing way to live each day in faith, bearing the Son of God!

Sometimes God we get overwhelmed by our circumstances and forget that we also bear Jesus. We forget the care you took to guard your Son's life and that of His family. You provide similar care for us today. Help us to remember and be aware of this. Help us to be obedient to your voice of protection and care, just as Joseph was obedient. Help us to remember that when You call us to move, You have our best interest in mind. Thank you God for being a caring Father, a good and personal Divine One, and the definition of Love!

Lord, as we read Your story in Matthew 2, we are also reminded of the many children who gave their lives for You. What an odd thought? They carried the cross before their was even an understanding of what it meant to carry the cross. They were Christian martyrs before their was even a concept of Christian martyrdom. And yet, children still cry out today. They may not be dieing for a great cause such as these children did, but their mothers are still weeping and lamenting. Lord, be with them too!

I also hear in this passage a recognition of your royalty! You really are the king, not only of the Jews, but of the universe! As you are aware, today is Prince William's and Catherine's wedding. What an amazing royal affair! Lord, be with them and bless their marriage, may it be a Christian one and may it last a lifetime.

Someday Jesus, we get to be your bride. What a long wait You must have. Yet You wait patiently, until we are all ready to put on the bride's dress and walk down the straight and narrow aisle to our moment of union with You. Thank you Jesus, that the day of the wedding is coming soon. How lucky we all our, to be the bride of truly divine royalty!

Amen.

Fun link: Cartoon characters reading Matthew 2

This blog entry is one of a series of entries in my quest to go chapter-by-chapter through the New Testament answering the question "Who is Jesus?"

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