Matthew 2 tells about the birth of Jesus. He was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king. Bethlehem means “house of bread.” In John 6:35 Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” Bethlehem was a village about six miles south of Jerusalem.
There were wise men who came to Jerusalem saying they saw a star in the east, and asking, “Where is He that is born King of the Jews?” When Herod heard this, he was upset and so was the whole city of Jerusalem. Herod wasn’t a religious man, neither was he Jewish. He was a Palestinian politician who preferred everything Greek. Herod had never heard of the prophecy from Micah 5:2, which clearly points to the Messiah coming from Bethlehem.
Herod sent the wise men to Bethlehem to search for the child and when they found Him they worshiped Him. Then the wise men were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, so they went another way. Herod sent men to kill all the children in Bethlehem who were from birth to two years old.
Joseph was warned in a dream that he should take Jesus and Mary to Egypt to keep Herod from finding Jesus and killing Him. This looks like they were running away, but it had been prophesied when the LORD said in Hosea 11:1 which Matthew quoted, “Out of Egypt have I called my Son.” They stayed in Egypt until Herod died only a year or two later.
Then Joseph had a dream telling him to take them to Israel. But when he heard Herod’s son, Archelaus was reigning in Judea he was afraid, so he went to Nazareth. This fulfilled another prophesy which said Jesus would be called a Nazarene. If you will notice that all these things look like they are not meant to be, but were previously prophesied.
This reminds me of one of my favorite Scriptures, Romans 8:28, which says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” We see that every move which was made had been previously orchestrated by God.
Daily Bible Reading:
1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.
17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,
18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.
21 And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.
22 But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:
23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
Things to think about:
- How did Joseph feel knowing Jesus was being sought by Herod to be killed?
- Have you ever noticed in your own life things that seem to be problems end up being for your good?
- Think about what it must have been like to be the parents of the children who were killed by Herod.
- Notice the prophesies that were fulfilled in this Scripture.
Prayer of the Day:
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You for Your Son, Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem. Thank You that You protected Him from Herod. Help us to remember what the Scriptures have to say about the birth of Jesus. Thank you for this Scripture which helps us to see that there are no accidents and that all things work together for Your will. We love You, LORD. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
This is an excerpt from The Book of Matthew: Life of Jesus Christ in honor of the celebration of Jesus’ birth for Christmas.
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The Book of Matthew: Life of Jesus Christ
by Deborah H. Bateman
About the book:
The Book of Matthew: Life of Jesus Christ is a Daily Bible Reading Study by Deborah H. Bateman, which takes you through the life of Jesus Christ. The book of Matthew is the first book in the New Testament of the Bible. It begins with the genealogy of Jesus Christ and His birth.
The Book of Matthew also goes into Jesus’ ministry on earth, including the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ parables, and Jesus’ final days, including His death, burial, and resurrection. The book concludes with the great commission.
The Book of Matthew: Life of Jesus Christ includes fifty-seven daily devotionals which contain a brief commentary, the Daily Bible Reading Scripture, a few questions to think about, and a prayer of the day. It is a great book for individual daily devotions or a group Bible study.
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