Matthew 2:1–15 comment (0)
December 20, 2012
By Robert Olsen
Related Scripture: Matthew 2:1–15
Explore the Bible
Assistant Professor of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile
Seeking the Savior
What Are You Looking For? (1–2)
Matthew was written to a Jewish audience, and as such, Matthew emphasized the fulfillment of prophecy to show the Jews that Jesus was in fact the Messiah spoken of by the prophets. It is very likely that these wise men from the east were familiar with Jewish prophecy from the Jews that inhabited parts of former Babylonia from the exile in 586 BC. When they referred to “his star in the east” it is possible that they were referring to the prophecy of Balaam in Numbers 24:17, “A star will come from Jacob, and a scepter will arise from Israel,” a prophecy that they would have learned from the Jews. Here were non-Jews who recognized the importance of Jesus, whereas His own people failed to do so (see John 1:11: “He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him”).
These wise men were skilled in following the stars and tracing their movements. The star that arose to point them to Jesus was obviously not a normal occurrence. Since stars follow an orderly and predictable pattern, God intervened to bring about this event. These foreign wise men recognized the importance of this event and left to find this King that they might worship Him.
Just as the wise men sought after Jesus, so should we especially during this Christmas season.
What Is Your Motive? (3–8)
Herod was disturbed by this news about the King of the Jews. Herod was a ruthless tyrant who even murdered some of his own family in order to ensure that he would remain in power. He was not about to accept a rival to his throne. Calling his Jewish scholars, he asked where the Messiah would be born, and once again we can see Matthew emphasizing the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. Herod wanted to find Jesus so he could kill Him. How do we respond when confronted with Jesus? The appropriate response is to worship Him humbly. Some people come to Jesus expecting rewards and seeking personal gain. The only acceptable response to Jesus is one of humble worship.
How Will You Respond? (9–12)
When the wise men saw Jesus, they fell on their knees and worshipped Him and gave Him gifts. The gifts they gave were significant — gold speaks to Jesus’ royalty, incense, referring to His priesthood, and myrrh, which is for His death and burial. The three gifts are a foreshadowing of Christ’s role and future. He is King, He is our High Priest, and He died and was buried for us. Of course, the greatest miracle is Jesus’ resurrection, which shows His victory over death.
It is important for us as well to give to Jesus. We give our lives to Him and serve and obey Him.
Sometimes when we give to God we do this in the form of acts of service and giving of our time.
Other times we give financially to support godly programs and missions. One such missions event that always occurs around Christmas is the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. This offering is used to support Southern Baptist missions all over the world so that others can hear the story of Jesus.
Who Is This Christmas Child? (13–15)
Mary and Joseph were obedient to take Jesus away for His protection. Once again we see the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy from Hosea 11:1: “Out of Egypt I called My son.” This passage alludes to God’s rescuing the Israelites from Pharaoh in the Exodus, but like many prophecies, it has a twofold purpose. Here, Matthew shows that it refers to Jesus’ trip to Egypt.
For us, Matthew’s Gospel shows us God’s faithfulness in keeping His promises. God sent Jesus as He said He would, and we celebrate Christmas because of Jesus’ birth.