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.

Joy of Returning

You want to see and feel the joy of returning? Check out this video of military personnel returning home to their loved ones.

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
    the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
it shall blossom abundantly
    and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
    the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
    the majesty of our God.

Isaiah 35:1-2 (ESV)

Isaiah is encouraging God’s people for Jesus’ return – the ultimate joy of returning.

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
    and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
    and streams in the desert;

Isaiah 35:5-6 (ESV)

There are signs of what are yet to come and they are pointing to the salvation that Jesus is bringing to the world.

It is beyond our imagination or the words to describe, but Isaiah gives us a glimpse.

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return
    and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
    they shall obtain gladness and joy,
    and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Isaiah 35:10 (ESV)

It’s not just God returning, but also the ransomed of the Lord – us! The closest picture we have of this is the story of the prodigal son.

Joy is obtained, not inherent or natural. It’s obtained from God and reflects God’s joy over us.

The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV)

God’s joy is now. We don’t have to wait! Our duty (or calling) doesn’t steal our joy but can add to it because with God all things are possible.

MLC Sermon 12/13/2020