Sunday, December 31, 2017
MATTHEW 2:12-23 – “OUT OF EGYPT
I HAVE CALLED MY SON”
Matthew 2:12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
Susie: The wise men obeyed the Holy Spirit’s message to them in the dream, and did not reveal the Baby’s location to Herod.
Susan: The Magi were truly wise and were not duped into becoming Herod’s henchmen. They went home by another route in order to avoid passing through Herod’s jurisdiction.
Matthew 2:13 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. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
Susan: Angels were protecting the Holy Child. Joseph like the Magi was warned in a dream of Herod’s insidious plot to kill the toddling baby Jesus. Joseph immediately took the family and fled to Egypt as the angel instructed. Some propose that the expensive gifts from the Magi may have been sold to finance this trip. The way that the Father protected Jesus at every turn should give us great confidence and courage that no matter what we face, if we believe and trust in our God, He will protect us with the same tenacity that He protected His Son.
Susie: Jesus was here on the mission of the redemption of man. In order to fulfill that, He had to live among us as the perfect God-Man which means He had to grow up!
Susan: God is as eager and intentional for each of us to fulfill our purposes as He was for Jesus to fulfill His.
Susie: When God calls us, it is not for our ease but for us to serve Him and bring others into His kingdom as well.
Matthew 2:15 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.
Hosea 11:1 (VOICE) Eternal One: When Israel was a child, I loved him; and out of Egypt I called My son.
Susie: Mary, Joseph, and Jesus had to return to the land of Israel’s captivity in order to save the Messiah’s life. Traveling with a young child is difficult even now. Imagine Mary doing it walking or riding a donkey!
Susan: She’s more of a woman than I am!
Susie: She and Joseph continued to obey the Lord’s leading. Joseph wasn’t just along for the ride. As the head of his household, he had the responsibility to make wise decisions and listen to the Lord in order to do what was best for Mary and Jesus. Just as God hand-picked Mary to be His Son’s earthly mother, He hand-picked Joseph to be Jesus’s step-father.
Matthew 2:16 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 inquired of the wise men.
Susie: Herod, seething with anger, commanded that all the boys two and under be slaughtered. He did not care about the innocent lives destroyed. He was intent on killing this One he saw as usurper.
Susan: Herod left no stone unturned, killing the boys under two years old even in the area around Bethlehem. Every couple of child bearing age was looked at to see if there was a boy in their household. His plan to kill Jesus was thwarted because Joseph was obedient to the message of the angel in the dream.
Matthew 2:17-18 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, In Ramah 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.
Jeremiah 31:15 (KJV) Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.
Susan: Imagine the anguish of all those mothers who lost their sons to a murderous annihilator!
Susie: The fathers would have been in anguish and anger as well. I’m surprised they did not riot. Perhaps that is how oppressed and cowed down they had become between the Roman occupation and Herod’s iron-fisted rule.
Matthew 2:19-20 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 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.
Susie: Just as an angel had warned Joseph to flee to Egypt, one now informs him that it is safe to return to Israel with Mary and Jesus.
Matthew 2:21-23 And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. 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: 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.
Susie: Joseph and Mary returned to Israel, but not to Bethlehem since Herod’s son was now on the throne. Instead they took Jesus back to their hometown of Nazareth.
APPLY THIS TO YOUR LIFE:
We need to fully rely on the Lord to fulfill His purposes in and through us as did Mary and Joseph. Do we seek the Lord’s wisdom as we travel this earth, trusting Him to guide our steps?
Thursday, December 28, 2017
MATTHEW 2:1-11 – TREASURES FOR
THE GREATEST TREASURE
Susie: The Magi, the Wise Men, were key visitors and worshipers early in Jesus’ life.
Matthew 2:1 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,
Susan: Herod whose name means “Son of a hero” was dubbed “The Great” probably due to his planning and financing fantastic building projects including the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple. He was ruthless as proved by his actions later in this passage.
Susie: He was identified as being Idumean meaning he descended from the Edomites, the offspring of Esau. The Edomites refused to help Israel against their enemies. Herod was made king over the Israelites by the Roman authorities. According to both the Reformation Study Bible and John MacArthur Study Bible notes these men were NOT kings, but were most likely court advisers who were both astronomers and astrologers. They may have been Zoroastrian wise men. If you want to know more about that religion, there is a brief article here:
Many scholars believe they may have been from Persia or Babylonia and would have learned of the prophesied Messiah due to Daniel’s captivity.
Another point of view on the Magi insists they were actually Jewish wise men who still lived in Babylon.
The Complete Jewish Study Bible:
Some have even speculated that these wise men came from a Jewish school that went back to Daniel’s day, where the prophets looked to the heavens for the promised arrival of the Messiah. The star in the east was in fact a manifestation of Adonai’s Sh’khinah (Divine Presence), marking the arrival of the Son of Man.
Matthew 2:2 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.
Susie: Scientists have tried to explain the phenomenon of the star by saying it was a conjunction of three planets or a supernova. However, the fact that it moved and rested in one place would negate those theories. The Reformation Study Bible notes proposed that it may have been some form of the Shekinah glory of God similar to the cloud by day and pillar of light at night which led the Israelites out of Egypt. John MacArthur, Jr., in his book God with Us, The Miracle of Christmas, discusses this same theory and states it was the same glory that had shone on the shepherds. At any rate, it was a miraculous occurrence.
Susan: I think the star was the Father’s personal birthday candle in the sky announcing the birth of His son. The glory of the Father would surely shine at the birth of His only begotten Son who would live in perfect obedience to His law and fulfill His plan to redeem the ones He had chosen.
Susie: The wise men stated that their sole purpose in traveling from the East was to find this Baby and worship Him.
Susan: The wise men may have been only seekers, or they may have been expectant Jewish scholars, anticipating the Messiah’s arrival like Simeon and Anna.
Susie: If they were Zoroastrians, they believed in a multiplicity of saviors and may have thought the one born king of the Jews was one of them. If they were Jewish sages from Babylon as proposed in the Complete Jewish Study Bible, then they truly came to worship the Messiah, the Son of God. They did not come desiring gifts from Him but bearing gifts for Him.
Susan: Their gifts were even of symbolic significance. They did not see this baby King as a cosmic Santa Claus or a supernatural slot machine like many people approach God today. They saw Him as an important spiritual figure to be worshipped.
Matthew 2:3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
Susie: King Herod was a controlling despot whose reign was one of fear. If King Herod wasn’t happy, no one was happy.
Susan: This Baby was a threat to his dictatorial control over Israel. If this baby were truly to be the king of Israel, it would mean that Herod’s sons would not inherit the kingdom. His family dynasty would be ended.
Susie: Instead of being excited about the possibility that the Messiah had arrived, he was jealous, green with envy, the original Grinch who tried hard to steal Christmas.
Susan: Unlike the Grinch, Herod’s heart never grew several sizes. As we will see, Herod far surpassed the Grinch in cruelty and deceit.
Matthew 2:4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
Susie: The king of Israel did not have enough interest in the coming Messiah to have studied the scriptures for himself.
Susan: He had to inquire of others who were required by their professions to know these things.
Matthew 2:5-6 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
Susie: This prophecy is found in Micah 5:2. Ruler denotes a strong, stern leadership.
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.
Susan: Micah prophesied that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem which translated means “house of bread.”
John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
Matthew 2:7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
Susan: The wise men were not even under Herod the Great’s rule, but he privately ordered them to give him information.
Susie: He was trying to ascertain exactly how old the baby Boy was at this time because he had a dastardly deed in mind.
Matthew 2:8 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.
Susie: Herod had no intention of worshiping the Child. He wanted to eliminate Him as we will see.
Susan: He feared Jesus would end his family legacy as well as his own rule. He knew he could not truly claim the thrown of Israel because he was not a descendant of King David.
Susie: We can add blatant, unscrupulous liar to the negative tags associated with the name Herod the Great.
Matthew 2:9-10 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. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
Susie: The star had disappeared temporarily which is why the Magi had inquired of Herod. Now it re-appeared and led them directly to the house where Jesus was living. I do believe this could have been the glory of God leading them just as He led the Israelites with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night when they fled Egypt. No natural phenomenon would have the ability to disappear, reappear, move, and hover.
Susan: The wise men were not just full of joy when the star came back into view: their joy was exponentially overwhelming. It was also a relief that they could now fulfill their mission to worship the baby King.
Susie: Jesus may have been a year to 18 months old by this time (according to the time the wise men told Herod they had first seen the star), and his family had moved to a house in Bethlehem. In other words, the wise men were not at the stable as they are so often depicted in artwork and dramatizations.
Matthew 2:11 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.
Susie: Whenever scripture mentions Jesus and Mary in the same breath, He is always given the position of prominence by being listed first. Note that the passage refers to Jesus as a “young child” again indicating He was no longer a newborn. Joseph must have been at the carpentry workshop since he is not mentioned in these verses.
Notes from The Voice Bible:
These are exceptionally good gifts, for gold is what is given a king, and Jesus is the King of kings; incense is what you expect to be given a priest, and Jesus is the High Priest of all high priests; myrrh ointment is used to heal, and Jesus is a healer. But myrrh is also used to embalm corpses—and Jesus was born to die.
Susan: All three gifts were expensive. Frankincense was burned along with the offerings in the temple according to the instructions God gave to Moses. Myrrh must be bruised, crushed in order to bring out its fragrance. Jesus was to be crucified in order to give us the fragrance of God’s grace.
Susie: The wise men probably did not fully understand the significance of their gifts or their visit. Scripture foretells that kings will worship The King:
Psalm 72:10-11 (VOICE) Let the kings of Tarshish and the island kings shower him with gifts and the kings of Sheba and Seba bring him presents as well. Let every king on earth bow down before him and every nation be in his service.
Isaiah 60:6 (VOICE) Herd after herd of camels will cover the land, caravans arriving daily from south and southwest: Midian, Ephah, Even Sheba with gifts of gold and frankincense. They will announce for all the world to hear, “The Eternal be praised!”
APPLY THIS TO YOUR LIFE:
1. Are we coming to Jesus to give Him adoration and worship, or are we only interested in what He can give us?
2. Do we understand all Jesus has done for us and can do in us, or do we see him (like Herod) as the eternal kill-joy? Jesus came to give us abundant life. His rules are for our protection, peace, and fulfillment; not to limit us.
3. The wise men brought their best gifts to the Savior, not only the physical gifts, but the most important gift – their worship. Are we bringing Him our best? Are we truly engaged in worshiping our Lord as instructed in Scripture, or are we distracted by the world?
Tuesday, December 26, 2017
SIMEON & ANNA
Luke 2:25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
Luke 2:26-28 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
Luke 2:29-32 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
Susie: Simeon’s psalm is known as the “Nunc Dimittis” (Now You dismiss) from the first two words of the Latin translation.
Luke 2:33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
Luke 2:34-35 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
Luke 2:36-37 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
Luke 2:38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
Luke 2:39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
Monday, December 25, 2017
Thursday, December 21, 2017
REDEEMING THE LONG AWAITED REDEEMER
Luke 2:21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Luke 2:22-24 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
Leviticus 12:1-8 (Complete Jewish Bible) Adonai said to Moses, “Tell the people of Isra’el: ‘If a woman conceives and gives birth to a boy, she will be unclean for seven days with the same uncleanness as in niddah, when she is having her menstrual period. On the eighth day, the baby’s foreskin is to be circumcised. She is to wait an additional thirty-three days to be purified from her blood; she is not to touch any holy thing or come into the sanctuary until the time of her purification is over. But if she gives birth to a girl, she will be unclean for two weeks, as in her niddah; and she is to wait another sixty-six days to be purified from her blood. When the days of her purification are over, whether for a son or for a daughter, she is to bring a lamb in its first year for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or dove for a sin offering to the entrance of the tent of meeting, to the cohen. He will offer it before Adonai and make atonement for her; thus she will be purified from her discharge of blood. Such is the law for a woman who gives birth, whether to a boy or to a girl. If she can’t afford a lamb, she is to take two doves or two young pigeons, the one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering; the cohen will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.”
Exodus 13:2 (CJB) Set aside for me all the firstborn. Whatever is first from the womb among the people of Israel, both of humans and of animals, belongs to me.
Exodus 13:15 (CJB) When Pharaoh was unwilling to let us go, Adonai killed all the firstborn males in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of humans and the firstborn of animals. This is why I sacrifice to Adonai any male that is first from the womb of an animal, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.
Numbers 18:16 (CJB) The sum to be paid for redeeming anyone a month old or over is to be five shekels of silver (two ounces), as you value it, using the sanctuary shekel (this is the same as twenty gerahs).
Galatians 4:4-5 (NIV) But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
PONDER THIS: Jesus, who was God in the flesh, placed Himself under the law. He was the only man who perfectly obeyed the law, remaining sinless. He who gave the Law to Moses, subjected Himself to it in order to free us from the burden it placed upon mankind. Even as a baby, Jesus had to be redeemed as all firstborn children belonged to God. Imagine – the Redeemer had to be redeemed!
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
LUKE 2:8-20 – THE SHEPHERDS WORSHIP
THE GOOD SHEPHERD
Luke 2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
Luke 2:9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
Luke 2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
Luke 2:11-12 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Luke 2:13-14 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Luke 2:15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
Luke 1:16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
Luke 1:17-18 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
Luke 2:19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
Luke 2:20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.