January 7 – Chronological Life of Jesus Day 5

It’s a brrrrrrr cold day in Nebrrrrraska today! What a perfect time to curl up at the feet of Jesus with some coffee/tea/cocoa and listen and learn! For further discussion of our Bible readings, keep checking and adding your thoughts in the comments section below the post on the website, or you’re welcome to join us in my living room tomorrow morning.

–Becky

Scripture

READ: Matthew 2

Observation

Verses 2:1-12. Matthew’s gospel tells an interesting story about three Magi, or Kings, or Wise Men from some foreign country in the east. They are drawn to Jerusalem by a star that suddenly appears in the sky that they understand to mean that the King of the Jews has been born, and they’ve come to worship him (vs. 2). This is baffling to me; the Jews who are God’s chosen people didn’t know this was happening in their own backyard (except for the shepherds who had to have a divine encounter to see the star and the baby), but these guys from a foreign country see a new star in the sky and somehow equate this to the birth of the King of the Jews, whose prophesies they read about in scriptures they somehow obtained that makeup the Old Testament of our Bible. We don’t know what their religious beliefs were, but they likely didn’t believe in our God. Despite, they seek the baby and come to worship him. Unfortunately, this was the Jewish reaction to much of Jesus’ ministry and beyond—the Jews chose to be blind to God fulfilling prophecy and chose instead to keep their hardened hearts. Paul faced the same struggle. As written in Acts, he first went to the synagogues in each town where he traveled and preached Jesus, and when they rejected the Good News, he went to the Gentiles (i.e., the non-Jews). The Good News spread like wildfire among the Gentiles. In fact, if you follow the trail back a long long time, that’s likely how you and I heard the Good News. Have you experienced spiritual blindness like the Jews? What does it take for you to see the Truth and fall down in worship to the King like the Magi? Look up Matthew’s last verse in his book (Matthew 28:19-20—a great verse to memorize!). Do you see how this story of the Magi, Gentiles seeking Jesus, foreshadows the Great Commission that we are given?

How do the Magi worship Jesus the King of the Jews? How can we take this example and act on it?

The Biblical definition of a prophet is the mouth by which God speaks to people, and the definition of prophecy is a prediction told by a prophet. In today’s reading, we see many prophecies recorded in the Old Testament that have been fulfilled in Jesus. The prophecy from Micah 5:2 is recorded as fulfilled in vs. 6 as the Jews tell Herod that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem. And he was—check. The prophecy from Hosea 11:1 is that God would call His Son out of Egypt, and this is fulfilled in vs. 15. Check. The prophecy fulfilled in vs. 23 is a little harder to pin down to its “roots”. I found some commentary stating that the name Nazareth means a shoot or branch, and there are several prophecies in the Old Testament that point to Jesus as the Branch (Jeremiah 23:5 and 33:15, Isaiah 4:2 and 11:1, Zechariah 3:8 and 6:12-13). But something else interesting about Nazareth is that at this time it was known as a place for Gentiles; from Isaiah 9:1, “…In the past He humbled the land Naphthali, but in the future He will honor Galilee of the Gentiles..” So Joseph, taking the advice of angels in his dreams, took his family out of Egypt and settled them in the town of Nazareth in the district of Galilee (vs. 23). Check. Our God is a promise-keeper! You can bet on it! Not all prophecies were good ones. The prophecy from Jeremiah 31:15 that was fulfilled in vs. 16-18—not good at all.

I am so thankful for the big picture perspective I get to have—looking over the whole Bible and seeing each prophecy given and fulfilled. If you’ve never read the whole Bible, put this on your bucket list! It’s God’s Word given to us, so it seems pretty important that we should read it if we want to get closer to God. The Jews in Jesus’ time were really good about reading and studying the Old Testament, but they often missed a crucial piece and that’s why their hearts remained hardened. Any guesses on what this crucial piece was? Give your answers on the website in the comments section below this post.

Application

You are a promise keeper. You desire my action for Your glory.

Prayer

Thank You for being the Ultimate Promise-Keeper! Sometimes in the muck and yuck it is difficult to see the big picture, that You are in charge, that You know the plans You have made for me. Help me to relinquish control to You always because me having any control is a lie from the world. As I seek You each day, help me to act on what You are teaching me in worship of You the Almighty.

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Posted on January 7, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. It strikes me at how much these magi sacrificed to travel that far for that long. (probably on camels!) What level of comfort am I sacrificing to worship Jesus?? Just pondering that

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  2. Interesting thought, Cristi! I’ve heard it called the sacrifice of worship, when we’re in the middle of the pit yet we choose to sit at the feet of Jesus each day any way, even if we’re not “feeling” it. The Magi couldn’t have been feeling it; they didn’t even know our God, but something was pushing them on that journey. He can do anything through anyone, but our worship is when we acknowledge it’s Him.

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  3. Becky,
    I think the missing piece for the Jews was LOVE. love for God and love for others. They were rule keepers not for the sake of glorifying God… But to glorify themselves. (I have been there myself.)

    Another thought.., God had plans for Mary, Joseph & Jesus hundreds of years before it happened. Well laid out plans! But having a baby in a stable and knowing a King wants to kill your child seems like plans gone wrong! Not the case. So when my plans seem like plans gone wrong… I wonder if they really ARE God’s well laid plans?

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  4. Good answer, Stacey! 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. I am also a recovering love-less rule keeper.
    God is in control, and God is love (1 John 4:8). I’m thankful for a loving God who controls my plans in a sinful world.

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  5. This is an awesome discussion of the Magi and the Jews. I agree with the love answer about the Jewish people. It’s so complex and so simple. I never really pondered the Magi as Gentiles. God rewards the seekers and reveals the Truth! The magi today would probably be considered by most Christians as real voodoo astrology quacks. Yet they were invited to Jesus birth and added quite a bit of credibility to Jesus birth. There role in discussing with King Herod also contributed to the historical dating and fulfillment of prophecy. Surely there have been great studies on the identity of these Magi. But simple Gentile Astrologist is quite the understatement. Indeed are any labels we put upon ourselves, besides child of God and disciple. I do feel bad for the Jews Isrealites for being used in the Old Testament for the world as an example of our sinful human nature and our desperate need for Gods intervention and power. Gods allows all the folly of the Jews to let all peoples relate to the chaos of the human condition. How beloved they are! I remember when I first read OT stories of the patriarchs great flaws. And these are the same guys whom God spoke with! What a relief to me and pure testimony of God’s grace!

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