Thursday, April 3, 2014

Matthew 2

1Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
·         This is pretty awesome that the stars line up with His birth, creation itself testifying He has come. In 2000 the planets all lined up in a row behind the sun. They line up in this way every 2000 years in fact.
·         This is right after Jesus was born, a matter of a few days, perhaps 8 or so, right after His circumcision, in the days of Herod the Great. I myself think that’s 1BC
·         Catholic history has 3 men because three gifts are mentioned, and how wise would they be if they didn’t all bring gifts?

3When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
·         Obviously there was no room for a King in Herod’s world. He in fact killed his own sons because he believed they were planning on assuming the throne before he was dead.
·         Herod and all of Jerusalem were not happy about the coming of the Messiah. This continued right down into Jesus own time, where the leaders of the city rejected Him
·         The 24 division of priests were gathered, as well as the experts who were not from a particular group. This may have been a meeting of the Sanhedrin.

5So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:   6‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ”
·         The quote comes from Micah 5:2 – “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”
·         The shepherd portion comes from the Jesus being the offspring of David the shepherd, but also from God as their shepherd Psalm 80:1, and the promise of the Messiah being like a shepherd who cares for His sheep – Isaiah 40:11. The word means ‘ruler’ but shepherd has a much better notion to it.
·         The scribes and leaders knew immediately where the Messiah would be born, although they didn’t realize the meaning of Micah 5:2 was not the same as what they quoted. That they didn’t understand ‘whose going is from old, from everlasting’ is obvious.
·         The other difference is Micah has Ephratah whereas Matthew has Judah, although they speak to the same place.

7Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”
·         After calling the council on where Jesus was to be born Herod found out when He was born.
·         Herod was close to death, and very occupied with other events, which is why he doesn’t even send a person to escort the Magi.

9When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.
·         So the star shows itself to be another miracle, of setting over the house where Jesus was in Bethlehem.
·         Since the star is once again mentioned it seems safe to assume it had gone away. This might be a comet or meteor that sank over the house of Jesus.

11And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
·         Jesus is always mentioned first, Mary is always mentioned second.
·         This is likely the house they stayed in when everyone left after the census, but Mary was not fully recovered.
·         This is similar to Psalm 72:10-15.
·         Frankincense was for offering to God in a burning, Myrrh was to embalm the dead because it was such a wonderful perfume, Esther 2:12. Gold was what you gave to kings. Kingdom, priesthood, sacrifice of Christ are noted here, because God could have had these men come from anywhere to honor Him, and He chooses this area of the world, which produces these gifts, which is symbolic.

12Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.
·         Now the angel is going to appear again to Joseph

13Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”
·         They flee to the land of bondage where they will be safe from destruction. Just as Israel and his sons found safety from death by starvation in Egypt, or as the nation faced extinction by marriage of foreign wives but fled to safety, Jesus too finds safety there.

14When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt,
·         It was no more than about 60 miles, 2 or 3 days journey to get to a place where there were other Jews and synagogues and places of rest and shelter to live there for a short period of time.
·         This is likely the night that the Magi visited and left, which meant Herod likely had a spy on them, who was going to make sure the family didn’t go anywhere and was down for the night before reporting back that the Magi had found their king.

15and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
·         This comes from Hosea 11:1, where God calls Israel out of bondage in Egypt, and Matthew has appropriated the language to Christ.  At first glance it looks nothing like the context, but this is because the Bible is about Christ. Israel itself is a shadow of Christ, and they find their existence in Him.
·         He has bent all human history about Himself, their works and actions were predestined to this because it foretells the person and work of Christ.

16Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.
·         Reading this closely it seems like this is just done in rage, just because. My guess is he already knew Jesus slipped through his fingers.
·         If the star appeared when Jesus was born then they would have taken about 40 days to walk there, about the time of Mary’s purification and His dedication. It’s likely Herod picks this as a rough number just to be safe.

17Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:   18“A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted, Because they are no more.”
·         This is taken from Jeremiah 31:15, in context talking about the deportation to Babylon, and how Israel is destroyed.
·         The mothers are weeping over the tyranny and brutality of oppression, the loss of the ones they loved

19Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” 21Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.
·         I’m not sure if this happened after the temple dedication in luke or before, but this seems to be the last thing that happens in the narrative of Jesus birth.
·         Herod the Great died in Jericho shortly after Jesus was born, about April, 1bc, just before the Passover.
·         Child and His Mother, those who sought the Child’s life continually place emphasis on Jesus. He must be raised a Jew among the Jews, so he returns to the promised land.

22But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee.
·         That year there was a huge riot at Passover, and 3,000 people were killed. Archelaus, Herods son was likely faulted, and as a consequence Rome deposed him and installed a governor. Pontius Pilate was the 5th governor in less than 30 years.

23And 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.”
·         Notice that there is no quotation of ‘prophet’ but prophets, plural. There is no prophecy that makes sense of this, it’s likely this meant more Is 53, ‘he was despised and rejected.’ Compare to John 1:46. He was born in a manger and his early life would be of the same stuff.
·         Herod Antipas ruled in Galilee, and he was the one who liked to listen to John the Baptist before he was pressured into killing him.

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