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.
READ: Matthew 2
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.
You are a promise keeper. You desire my action for Your glory.
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.