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Lesson # Matthew 2:1-2
Study Material - Matthew, book introduction and outline
You must be in fellowship prior to your Bible study, so that the spiritual information you receive can become a source, of blessing to your soul and produce spiritual growth.
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem 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.'
"After Jesus was born..."
His entrance into the world came with little fanfare, little celebration. The Jews were looking for the white knight with shining armor coming over the hill blazing away at their political enemies and coming with great pomp, and crowds of followers. But Jesus came into this world with humility and little notice. His own did not receive him. The world knew him not. The unique person of the universe had come on to the scene, about to turn the tables on Satan, the great liar and deceiver, about to secure a strategic victory at the Cross, yet He came with very little notice.
Simeon and Anna in Luke spoke of Him and kept speaking of Him, yet no one took heed. Not for another 30 years would any notice be taken. The Word of God was available to all who were interested, yet very few were interested in scripture let alone understood the significance of the times. Daniel foretold the date of the birth, Isaiah the place, Micah the place, Moses the line as well as the identifying star in Num. 24:17.
If anyone had followed scripture then they would know that it was at this time in history, in Bethlehem, the savior would be born of a virgin. Yet Jesus came in to the world almost unnoticed. Certainly the citizens of the city were in the dark as to the honor which had been bestowed on them.
These days cities compete for the bragging rights of having the best gardens, tallest buildings, best sports complexes, sites for conventions, the home of this famous person or that. And here we have the greatest birth event of history and no one knew about it, at least very few. This was a low point in the spiritual history of Israel. They had been the custodians of the scriptures, the communicators and writers of scripture, the words from God to mankind for centuries, yet they suffered many punishments for their failure in carrying out their responsibility to all mankind. And now having still not understood their failure, the scepter was about to be lifted from their custody Gen. 49:10.
Now Jesus had come and the end was in sight for the nation of Israel, and Satan. And the beginning was in sight for the rest of the world. There is a contrast now made. Herod was then king of the Jewish state, the Roman state of Judea. Having been appointed as king by Agustus and Antonius. Herod was not Jewish but an Edomite. Jesus was born in the 35th year of his reign. He was referred to as Herod the Great. Now comes Christ who was born in a poor mans manger and possesses the title King of the Jews, King of kings, Lord of lords, the Bright Morning Star. The Jews somewhere along the line lost their right to rule themselves, or even to be ruled by one of their own. Christ delivered them from bondage in Egypt centuries before, yet through their own arrogance they went right back to their former state of subordination to other parties, rejecting their freedom.
When their redeemer came to them they did not even know it.
But there were those who did. Magi, princes and wise men came from far off, from other countries. These were gentiles, not Jews. They came seeking Christ. They made inquiry as to where the King of the Jews was. They did not inquire 'if' a king had been born, but 'where was He'. They knew for certain that the King had been born, and they wished to worship Him. Not establish political ties, but worship. These wise men were educated and knew the signs of the times. They were positive toward God and understood the scriptures. They pursued doctrine with a vigor to satisfy their insatiable desire to learn. They saw the foretold of star, they knew which city to go to, they knew the time. They were gentiles. Jesus' own people knew very little.
One would think that these Magi probably would have expected it easy to find Christ, because wouldn't they have to wait in long lines, have trouble getting rooms themselves, have trouble finding parking and transportation to the home of the 'child'??? But they did not see any of this. They had to go door to door asking where is the King of the Jews, born in Bethlehem! Imagine the raised eyebrows that were almost certainly given in response to their question. But the question did get some ones attention and it was not the general population of people, but Herod who heard of their inquiry.
So we have seen that Christ came into this world in virtual obscurity. And even today He is obscure. The knowledge of Christ is worldwide and yet people just do not have time in their lives for God. They give lip service of sorts. They go to church occasionally, but these just make impressions in the right social circles. They have nothing to do with spiritual growth.
Then there are those who make excuses. God doesn't work for me anymore. Doctrine doesn't work. I tried it for a month or a year or two and it just did not make any difference. And the excuses go on and on. How do we know that there isn't another god somewhere. How do we know that the trinity is real. Ignorance and uncertainty lead to these and a million more questions and comments. If one is truly objective and truly desires knowledge of God, then God will make all things clear in due time. Patience has to be learned.
In all of the written material in this world, there is none that come even close to the consistency and longevity of the scriptures. None can match the prophecies foretold and fulfilled. None that can match the numbers of different writers of scripture through many generations with the common thread of Christ weaving throughout.
One would think that if anyone, the Israelites would have treasured their custodial possession of scripture and would have given greater honor to God than they actually did, what with their history, tradition, rich miracles and so forth. But who notices the entrance of Jesus? A few shepherds, a few other Jews, some foreigners, and an evil king who now feels threatened.
We should meet good news with open arms, not hostility. We should seek God and His wisdom and our spiritual growth with a vigor, and understand that the results of our investment in Bible Study will come slowly but surely. We still have to function within the constraints of this world, but Doctrine in our soul gives us that extra ace in the hole for trumping life's problems.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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