After The Birth of Jesus
AFTER THE BIRTH OF JESUS
I am glad you are here. Hope you have had a good week.
- Do you remember what the challenge is for this year? (Learn More About Jesus)
“More about Jesus would I know, More of His grace to others show;
More of His saving fullness see, More of His love who died for me.”
That is the challenge…and that is what we are going to do this year in our lessons…we are going to spend a lot of time learning about Jesus.
- This morning we are going to study from Matthew 2.
The passage that ________ read…most people recognize as part of the “Christmas Story.”
- I guess, in many ways that is good…because at least people do learn some things about Jesus from the Christmas stories.
- But when Matthew wrote this somewhere around 65 A.D., there was no Christmas.
- And the truth is that Matthew wrote this for a completely different reason than to be the basis of a holiday.
Let me remind you of some things that we covered last week.
- When Matthew wrote this Jesus had already come…and had been crucified…and ascended in to heaven.
- The majority of the Jews had rejected Him as the Messiah…and they were still looking for the Messiah to come.
- Some were just not sure about Jesus…they had seen Him…they had heard His teachings…but they were just not completely convinced.
So Matthew writes this “to fully win the Jews to Christ”…to gain those who were still not converted…and to reassure those who had been.
- So some of the thing that Matthew said about Christ to try convince these Jews who had rejected Him were:
- He is Jesus; Jeshua-“God saves; Savior; Christ-Messiah; the One anointed by God to save His people from their sins;
- Son of David; King
- Son of Abraham; the One through whom all the nations will be blessed.
- Through Joseph He is the legal heir to the throne of David which is an everlasting throne.
- He is the culmination of the holy works of God; Conceived by the Holy Spirit; Confirmed by and angel; confirmed by a prophet; He is Immanuel, God with us.
- So Matthew gives all of this evidence to convince the Jews…as well as people today that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God…the Savior…the King.
Now, if Jesus is the King it is fitting that royal homage be rendered to Him, not only by the Jews but also by the Gentiles. Look starting in chapter 2:
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem(House of Bread) of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 2 “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him.”
- When these “wise men” who are Gentiles come looking for the one “who has been born King of the Jews so they can worship Him” what is being said here is that “Jesus is Lord of all.”
- He is Lord of Jews and Gentiles a like…He is sovereign…the One before whom all will someday bow.
And if any of the Jews wanted to say that this never happened Matthew sets it in a time and place context…this took place in “the days of Herod the king when He was in Jerusalem.”
- This is not just some mythical legend…some folk tale…they could go back and check the historical records and they will find out that this is all true.
- And just as a side note…Jesus had a star…not on the “walk of fame in Hollywood” but in the heavens guiding these “wise men.”
- One article I read this week said that this was the original “Star Trek.”
Vs. 3-5 And when Herod the king heard it, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he began to inquire of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 And they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it has been written by the prophet,
6’And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, Are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; For out of you shall come forth a Ruler, Who will shepherd My people Israel.’
- If you look back in chapter and vs. 23 Matthew refers to Isaiah in speaking of Jesus.
- Here in refers to Micah; In vs. 15 he refers to Hosea; and in vs. 18 he refers to Jeremiah.
- Matthew references 4 of their own prophets to prove to them that Jesus is the Messiah…and yet most of them still rejected Him.
- And look at what Micah says about Bethlehem in his prophecy: For out of you shall come forth a Ruler, Who will shepherd My people Israel.”
So, here in just 6 short verses Matthew has told us that Jesus is “Lord of all”; He is confirmed by history; he is once again confirmed by one of their own prophets; and He is Ruler and Shepherd of God’s people.
Let’s go on; vs. 7:
7 Then Herod secretly called the magi, and ascertained from them the time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, “Go and make careful search for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, that I too may come and worship Him.”
- Neither King Herod nor the chief priests and scribes doubted for a moment that the reference of Micah 5:2 was in reference to the Messiah.
9 And having heard the king, they went their way; and lo, the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them, until it came and stood over where the Child was. 10 And when they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And they came into the house and saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell down and worshiped Him; and opening their treasures they presented to Him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.
- These wise men were not kings…but they were representatives of kings…and when they bow down to the Christ child their actions say, “King of kings.”
- And the gifts they bring: Gold-for a king; Frankincense-for a priest; and myrrh-for embalming-a sacrifice.
- Jesus is Lord of all; He is confirmed by history; He is Ruler; He is God’s Shepherd; He is King of kings; He is priest; and He is a sacrifice.
Vs. 12: And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their own country by another way.
13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise and take the Child and His mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.” 14 And he arose and took the Child and His mother by night, and departed for Egypt (relatively close, not nearly as far as Babylon or Persia; many Jews were living there; and Egypt was completely outside of Herod’s domain); 15 and was there until the death of Herod, that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, “Out of Egypt did I call My Son.”
- Two more endorsements: One from God Himself and another by a prophet.
- How can you Jews…how can anyone doubt or deny who Jesus is.
Now, watch Herod’s wickedness unfold: Vs. 16: Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its environs, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the magi. 17 Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled, saying,
18 “A voice was heard in Ramah, Weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; And she refused to be comforted, Because they were no more.” 19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, 20 “Arise and take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; for those who sought the Child’s life are dead.” 21 And he arose and took the Child and His mother, and came into 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 by God in a dream, he departed for the regions of Galilee, 23 and came and resided in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
- One more time He is endorsed by a prophet…but when He is referred to as a “Nazarene” that wasn’t a compliment.
- For some reason the city of Nazareth was despised by the Jews (John 1:46)…don’t know why…the Bible doesn’t tell us.
- But when the prophet says that “Jesus shall be called a Nazarene” what he is saying is Jesus would become as “despised and rejected” as Nazareth was by the Jews. (Isa. 53:3)
And one of the things that is interesting when it says that “He shall be called a Nazarene”, you will not find that statement made by any one single prophet…there is no scriptural reference in the prophets where that statement is made.
- But this statement was the “fulfillment of all the prophets in general.”
So let’s list now what Matthew has said about Jesus?
- Chapter 1:
- Jesus-Jeshua-“God saves” or Savior.
- Christ-Messiah-“Anointed…God’s anointed to save His people from their sins.”
- Son of David – King with Everlasting Throne; “2 Sam. 7:16
- Son of Abraham – “One through which all the nations will be blessed.”
- Physical son of Joseph – Legal right to the throne of David.
- 3 sets of 14 generations – Jesus is the culmination of God’s holy work.
- Conceived by the Holy Spirit.
- Confirmed by an angel.
- Confirmed by the prophet Isaiah.
- He is “Immanuel – God with us.
- Chapter 2:
- King of the Jews; Lord of the Gentiles; Lord of all.
- Ruler…Shepherd of God’s people.
- Confirmed by history.
- Confirmed by the prophet Micah, Hosea, Jeremiah, and numerous others.
- King, Priest; Sacrifice
- Protected and endorsed by God.
- Now, do you believe this? If not, why not?
- Matthew writes this to give not just the Jews but everyone convincing evidence of who Jesus is…to convince those who have not put their full faith in Jesus…to convince those who believe in Jesus but also believe in other god’s as well like some of the Gentiles do…and to reassure those whose faith may be wavering…
- Do you believe this?
It may that some of us may need to have the same spirit as Joseph did.
- Do you realize in the narrative that Joseph never says a word…he never speaks…he just obeys.
- “Joseph, get up and take the baby and His mother and go to Egypt.”
- Joseph gets up even though it is the middle of the night and goes.
- “Joseph, go to Egypt and stay there until I tell you.”
- Joseph goes.
“Ok, Joseph, Herod is dead…get up and take the child and His mother and go back to Israel.”
- Joseph goes.
- “Joseph, Archelaus is ruling over Judea now…don’t stay in Galilee…go to Nazareth…and I know that people will despise you but go anyway.”
- And without saying a word Joseph does what God says.
I am encouraging you to have the same spirit that Joseph had.
- Whatever God tells you to do, no matter when He wants you to do it, no matter how long He wants you to do it, no matter where He wants you to go, and no matter what people are going to think of you, just do it!
- “Believe in Jesus as the Messiah…the One who can save your from your sins”…just do it!
- “Confess Jesus as Lord” – just do it.
- “Repent” – Just do it.
- “Be baptized” – just do it.
- “Go and make disciples’ of Christ” – just do it.
- “Study the Word”; “Love one another; visit the widows and orphans; put aside all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and slander, and malice.” – just do it.
- I encourage you to follow Joseph’s example and respond to God the way God wants you to respond.
Something else to learn and remember from this story…look at vs. 12: And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their own country by another way.
- It is often difficult for thoroughly honest men to understand hypocrites and for generous people to catch on to the schemes of self-seekers.
- So it is not surprising that the Wise Men failed to see what Herod was up to.
- But, though the eyes of the Wise Men could not see…before God nothing is hidden; Heb. 4:13.
- When men do evil…in fact, before men do evil God sees.
- But we need to also keep in mind that God sees the good that men do as well.
But now, if God knew what Herod was going to do ahead of time why did He not simply kill Herod? Why did He let these babies be destroyed?
- There is no way of knowing for sure.
- Perhaps to show us just how wicked and evil some people can be and are. (shooter in Connecticut)
- Perhaps to remind us that there is another force at work in this world; the one called the devil….and to remind us of just how powerful he is.
- To remind us that often the innocent suffer because of the wicked.
- To remind us that there is no guarantee of tomorrow for anyone.
- And perhaps to show us the difference between the two kings:
- Herod: selfish and self-indulgent; Jesus self-denying and self-sacrificing.
- Herod: Yielding to Satan; Jesus: vanquishing Satan.
- Herod: destroyer; Jesus: Savior.
- Herod: cruel, even to little ones; Jesus: kind, also to little ones.
- Herod: loses self-control; Jesus, sovereign over all.
- Just think how much difference our world would be like if everyone would sincerely serve the King of all kings.
- Will you do that this morning…will you commit to Him…will you make a change and be sincere in your obedience to Him.
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023