SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Today we learn that Jesus was born during the time of King Herod. Herod has been described as a madman, an evil genius, and a man prepared to commit any crime to satisfy his ambition. So, when the magi, otherwise known as wise men from the east, came to honor the king of the Jews, this was more than the king could handle. He greatly feared this baby usurping his kingdom... and he was not going to take it. So, he lies to the magi and tells them that he wants to go worship this child as well. Fortunately, an angel visits the magi in a dream and warns them not to return to Herod. An angel also appears to Joseph warning him to flee Bethlehem immediately for Egypt. The king is outraged when he realizes that he has been outwitted, and so he calls for the death of all males under the age of 2 in the hopes that he can exterminate Jesus for good.
- The three gifts the wise men brought Jesus carry great meaning for Jesus' future life and death:
- Gold represents royalty and kings, Jesus symbolizing the ultimate king.
- Frankincense was used by the Jewish priests to worship in the temple, symbolizing Jesus as the final High Priest, or, the one who connects people to God.
- Myrrh was often used as a burial oil, foretelling Jesus’ death and his ultimate sacrifice for our sins.
- Matthew 2 skips forward several years in verse 19. King Herod has finally died, and now Joseph and his family can head back to Israel. However, instead of settling back in their hometown of Bethlehem, Joseph decides to go north of Judah to the small town of Nazareth because he also fears Herod's predecessor, Archelaus.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- From day one it was obvious that Jesus was no ordinary child and that what made Him special would also make His life difficult.
- God interacts with humans. He is not a God who created the world and then stepped back to watch. He is not a God who gives the world principles to live by and wishes them luck. He is a God who is relational and who interacts with people who seek His guidance.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Have you experienced God interacting with you? If so, what was it like? Did He prompt you to do something? Personalize a Bible verse or a sermon so it seemed like it was just for you? Speak the perfect thing you needed to hear through a friend of yours? If you haven't experienced the feeling that God was specifically moving in your life, why do you think that is? Are you truly living in a relationship with Him? Are you inviting Him to act? Are you seeking His guidance? Maybe you can take a few minutes to talk to Him about that right now.