Matthew 2 Notes

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem,

Matthew 2:1 (ESV)
  • There were at least two wise men, perhaps more. It’s not known how many or what their names were.
  • Wise men = magi = scholars / astronomers
  • Herod was an Eodmite. Jewish by geography, but not really a Jew. He was put into power by Rome.

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.

Matthew 2:11 (ESV)
  • This visit did not happen in the stable at the manger when Jesus was born. It happened in “the house” which was likely a cave.
  • Joseph not mentioned. It is likely that he was out working, or he’s simply not mentioned.

And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

Matthew 2:12 (ESV)
  • This is the second dream in Matthew’s Gospel. In Luke’s Gospel, there’s a few more recorded. God is doing a lot of communicating during this season after 400 years of silence.
  • God is present and making His plan happen.

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.

Hosea 11:1 (ESV)

Israel is Jacob and is the nation of God’s people called out of Egypt. Israel is more than just a location.

The purpose of the Exodus was to create a new nation of God’s people to be a model of God’s perfect kingdom on earth, but they failed. They rebelled. Then, Jesus came. Again, God calls his son out of Egypt. Jesus is the perfect model of God’s kingdom on earth. Jesus did all the things that Israel went through to do it right – even going into the wilderness. Where Israel failed in the wilderness, Jesus did it perfectly right.

Jesus is the light to the world. If we are not shining the light of Jesus into the world, we have failed. The world is going to be the world, but the church (God’s people) are called to be different. Our focus should not be on changing the world, but on our relationship with Christ so that we are changed. As we are changed, then the world is changed.

What’s your motivation?

11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”

Luke 15:11-32 (ESV)

The older son’s relationship with the father is based on obligation, whereas the younger son’s relationship basis transformed from selfish rebellion to humble submission. The father’s relationship with the sons is based on unconditional love.

There’s also a whole works vs. grace vibe in this story as well as obligation vs. sacrifice element. What is your motivation/attitude regarding the inheritance we receive from the Father?