Matthew 2: A King is Born (7)
Pray Psalm 66.13-16.
I will go into Your house with burnt offerings;
I will pay You my vows,
Which my lips have uttered
And my mouth has spoken when I was in trouble.
I will offer You burnt sacrifices of fat animals,
With the sweet aroma of rams;
I will offer bulls with goats. Selah
Come and hear, all you who fear God,
And I will declare what He has done for my soul.
Sing joyfully Psalm 66.13-16.
(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
To Your house we come with off’rings, what we vowed, Lord, help us do.
O, receive our praise and homage as we give ourselves to You.
Come and listen, all who fear Him: hear what this great God can do!
Read aloud and meditate on Matthew 2.
1. Who wanted to know, “Where is He?”, in this chapter? Why?
2. Two responses to th birth of Jesus are indicated in chapter 2. What are they?
When it comes to Jesus, Matthew suggests, there is no middle ground. Either you worship Him and devote your best to Him, or you will try to rid Him from your purview and presence. Love Him or hate Him. Believe in Him or deny Him. Surrender everything to Him, or do everything in your power to be done with Him.
This plotline will continue to unfold throughout the remainder of Matthew’s gospel. We’ll see it in the book of Acts, hear it testified of in all the epistles, and learn the broad scope of its unfolding in the book of Revelation. This trajectory continues into the early years of the Christian movement, throughout the entire course of Church history, and into our own time.
Following Jesus is a hard road. No matter how long, dangerous, or merely inconvenient the journey, they who love Him will make it, every day of their lives, giving Him their dearest affection and most precious gifts as they do.
No one can be a “little bit” Christian, or even “mostly” Christian. If we say we believe Jesus, then we fall before Him like those Magi, and give to Him all the best we have of our time, talents, and treasure. We devote ourselves entirely to Him, and we shall see, throughout the rest of Matthew’s narrative, that He expects nothing less of those who would follow Him in this world.
Meanwhile, the world wants to destroy Jesus. Make no mistake about it. If they could, unbelievers in every walk of life would outlaw all teaching and worshiping and mentioning of the Name of Jesus Christ. And they would shame and silence anyone who even looked like he might be associated with the Lord. For now, however, the Spirit and grace of God restrain the worst that the unbelieving world might do against the Name of Jesus.
Restrain, but not eliminate. In this life, those who follow Jesus must understand that His way is fraught with challenge and danger. But as the Word of God protected Joseph, Mary, and Jesus in Matthew 2, so that Word protects all who go with Jesus to bring His Light to the world. That doesn’t mean we won’t suffer – stay tuned in Matthew’s gospel – but it does mean that our eternal wellbeing, as followers of Jesus, is never in doubt.
1. Why did Herod want to destroy Jesus? Do we see this same attitude in our world today? Explain.
2. Was it convenient for Joseph and Mary to flee with Jesus to Egypt? Should we expect following Jesus to be convenient for us? Explain.
3. What do you learn from Matthew 2 to deepen your commitment to following Jesus?
Let us now observe how glorious was the dignity that attended the King after his birth, after the magi in their journey remained obedient to the star. For immediately the magi fell to their knees and adored the one born as Lord. There in his very cradle they venerated him with offerings of gifts, though Jesus was merely a whimpering infant. They perceived one thing with the eyes of their bodies but another with the eyes of the mind. The lowliness of the body he assumed was discerned, but the glory of his divinity is now made manifest. A boy he is, but it is God who is adored. How inexpressible is the mystery of his divine honor! Chromatius (fl. 400), Tractate on Matthew 5.1
Lord Jesus, today I give You my best in all things, as I…
Pray Psalm 66.1-12.
Pray that those who know Jesus will take the Good News of Him to the people around them; and that the people who hear that Good News will respond in worship.
Sing Psalm 66.1-12.
Psalm 66.1-12 (Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
Shout for joy to God, all people, sing the glory of His Name!
Give Him glorious praise and say, “How great Your pow’r and great Your fame!
All the earth shall worship gladly as they praise Your glorious Name!”
Great and awesome is our Savior in the works which He has done.
He the sea and river dried to let His people cross as one.
Then our joy was great to worship Him our mighty, sovereign One.
He the nations watches ever – all you rebels, humbled be.
Bless our God, all men and nations, praise His Name eternally!
He preserves our souls, and He will keep His paths beneath our feet.
You have tried us, Lord, as silver, and have brought us into nets,
made us carry heavy burdens, let men trample o’er our heads.
But through all Your grace sustained us and has brought us through to rest.
T. M. Moore
The Gospel of Matthew will help us grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Two companion books can supplement our study of Matthew. To Know Him examines what it means to belong to Jesus and to love and serve Him (click here), while Be Thou My Vision enables us to gain an even larger perspective on Jesus (click here).
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).