October 8, 2019

No Ordinary Child

Matthew 2

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The Visit of the Wise Men

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men1 from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose2 and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

  “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
  for from you shall come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

The Flight to Egypt

13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Herod Kills the Children

16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

18   “A voice was heard in Ramah,
    weeping and loud lamentation,
  Rachel weeping for her children;
    she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”

The Return to Nazareth

19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead.” 21 And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.

Footnotes

[1] 2:1 Greek magi; also verses 7, 16
[2] 2:2 Or in the east; also verse 9

No Ordinary Child



Key Verse | Matthew 2:11a

And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him.

Bio | Steve Selke

G'day y'all!

My name's Steve Selke, and my wife Kim and I were born and raised five minutes from the beach in Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia (you can check it out here: Adelaide, Australia). We moved to Dallas in August 2016 for school and made Watermark our home almost immediately. While we're missing our South Aussie beaches, flat whites and fine living, we LOVE our adopted home-away-from-home and count it a privilege to serve our Watermark family with the Marriage and Equipping teams.

Central Truth

The only sensible response to Jesus as the Messiah is wholehearted worship.

Devotional | Matthew 2

Matthew argues that Jesus is the long-promised Jewish Messiah ("Anointed One")—the hope of the world (Isaiah 9:1-7). After laying out Jesus' credentials (Matthew 1), Matthew summarizes...

Matthew argues that Jesus is the long-promised Jewish Messiah ("Anointed One")—the hope of the world (Isaiah 9:1-7). After laying out Jesus' credentials (Matthew 1), Matthew summarizes Jesus' early years with four scenes that testify to His authenticity.

At first, the story sounds ridiculous.

Persian philosopher-magician-astrologers travel miles to find a foreign baby king by following a "star" that ultimately leads them to a peasant's porch in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1-2, 9). Upon arriving, these Wise Men go "cray-cray" celebrating, then worshiping an infant (Matthew 2:10-11).

Herod, Judea's blood-thirsty, power-hungry (Edomite) ruler, is so frenzied by news of a rival Jewish king that Jerusalem is thrown into chaos as he seeks to eliminate the new threat to his rule (Matthew 2:3-4, 7-8). So consumed with killing this baby is Herod that he's still sending "hit" teams to hunt down Bethlehem babies nearly two years later—murdering (likely) scores in the process (Matthew 2:16).

Meanwhile, Joseph and family go into Egyptian witness protection until Herod's six feet under (Matthew 2:14-15). When they finally do return to Israel, they settle in a rural Galilean hick-town (Matthew 2:21, 23).

So why all the drama, Matthew? Good question.

First, Gentiles are worshiping and paying tribute to Jesus as the King—something Isaiah prophesied would happen to the Messiah (Isaiah 60).

Second, even when Jesus is a child, the enemy is at work (through Herod) seeking to destroy the "Christ" (Greek for "Messiah") (Matthew 2:4).

Third, Matthew intentionally and specifically connects these events to Old Testament prophesies to demonstrate that, even as a child, Jesus fulfilled the Messianic pattern (Matthew 2:5-6, 15, 17-18, 23).

Finally, four times God directly intervenes through dreams to preserve Jesus' life (Matthew 2:12, 13, 19, 22). This is no mere footnote to the story. Nothing but divine protection could save Jesus from Herod's mass infanticide; and, for Matthew, this is unequivocal authentication that Jesus is the Messiah.

The question for the reader then is: will we join the Wise Men in worshiping Jesus as Messiah or oppose His rule like Herod?

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Discussion Questions

God revealed to the Wise Men from the east that Jesus was more than just a king—He was worthy of their worship. The means of revelation was likely the star (probably God's glory) (Isaiah 60:1-2) and/or Daniel's prophesies originally written (and likely still circulating) in Persia (Daniel 7:13-14).

1. How can we be sure today that Jesus is the Messiah?

2. Where in the Bible might you find specific evidence of this?

3. How would you answer not-yet believers who ask why you worship Jesus?

Herod knew the Wise Men were speaking of a prophesied descendant of David who would rule forever over Israel (2 Samuel 7:8-17) and the nations (Genesis 49:10; Psalm 2:8-9). Instead of worshiping Jesus, Herod opposed Him because Herod saw Him as a threat to Herod's own power and rule.

4. In what ways do people today respond to Jesus like Herod?

5. In what ways do you struggle not to oppose Jesus' rule in your life?

Old Testament Messianic prophecies begin in Genesis 3:15, when God promised a son of Eve would crush the serpent (figuratively, Satan). God then progressively revealed who this serpent-crusher would be and what He would do. He would be a son of Abraham through whom God would bless all people (Genesis 12:3); He would be a son of Judah who would rule over all people (Genesis 49:10); He would be a son of David who would rule forever (2 Samuel 7:13); He would be pierced for our transgressions (Isaiah 53:5); He would be the Son of Man who will come on the clouds of heaven with divine authority to rule the earth (Daniel 7:13-14); and He would be the Son of God Himself (Psalm 2:7).

6. In what specific ways do these Old Testament prophecies encourage you?

8 Comments available

Jay Caruso 5 days ago

Steve thank you for your devo. Very easy to get a word picture with your word. I would love to visit Australia one day. We have to many Herods in this life. They are just killing any age race even our protectors of the human law

Michael Scaman 11 days ago

I think it’s an encouragement that although Herod was trying to stop God’s plan from happening (as if he could), he became part of the story and was even used to bring some of the prophesies to pass.

Michael Scaman 11 days ago

Jesus in the scriptures?

As far as the nations coming to God though Messiah, I notice that Psalm 95 is like a covenant song of the Jews to come and sing to God… and then… wait for it… the next 5 songs Psalms 96, 97, 98 ( inspiring the song Joy to the World) then 99, and 100 have the nations and many coastlands and people singing to God in praise worship and thanks.

Apparently God wanted more people ‘in the choir’ and for the nations to be glad (in Him).

The covenant Jews were the sheep of His pastures in Psalm 95 and that seems to widen to people of ‘The Earth’ being sheep of His pasture in ‘the old 100’ all under the guidance of 'the shepherd king Jesus.

Michael Scaman 11 days ago

“Out of Egypt I called my son.” is from Hosea as is “Death where is your string” Stunning promises from a book filled with stunning grace (with the story of Hosea and Gomer.)

As far as poofs “taste and see that the Lord is good” would be one. As Jonathan Edwards said “How do you know honey is sweet? you put some on your tongue”

greg jones 11 days ago

The question for the reader then is: will we join the Wise Men in worshiping Jesus as Messiah or oppose His rule like Herod?

Hopefully when worshipping Jesus I see the difference between his rule and Herod’s.

Michael Scaman 11 days ago

Herod’s had a getaway palace in Bethlehem leaving Bethlehem ‘in the shadow of Herod’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herodium

A walk through it is here on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bV4I43_REGo

Sue Bohlin 11 days ago

G’day, mate! Outstanding devo showing lots of work!! Love the many references to God leading through dreams. He’s still doing the same thing today among Muslims and Jews. (I wonder how often God reaches out to us Gentiles through dreams if we’d just pay attention . . .)

I loved the question of the Magis in v. 2: “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?” It’s the ultimate “born that way” in the Bible. No wonder the paranoid Herod was freaked out–he had to BECOME a king, but Jesus was born that way.

Hugh Stephenson 11 days ago

GM Steve. What an awesome devo!!

Q3 - I have been taught that our faith is Christ centered rather than Bible centered, and that the resurrection is the key truth. Modeling Jesus, I try to answer questions with questions. I usually ask “So, who do you say Jesus is?”, (c.f. Matthew 16:15).

I am a deeply analytical guy, so I go to the actual undisputed evidence and facts - and ask them to do the same, c.f. movies on former atheists Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Exazh5vkjyM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhe8KhSxWGo

I get to the truth of the resurrection ASAP and use some of the equipping I received,

https://www.gotquestions.org/Old-Testament-Christ.html https://www.gotquestions.org/was-Jesus-resurrected.html https://answersingenesis.org/jesus-christ/resurrection/infallible-proofs/ https://www.allaboutjesuschrist.org/resurrection-proofs-faq.htm

I am grateful for Mathew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8 which drove people to faithfully and PATIENTLY proclaim Christ to me. I want the His joy for others too. I love the joy I receive in proclaiming how he rescued me.

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