Matthew – Chapter 2

The Visit of Magi

v1: The birth of Jesus was recorded in Luke 1. The Magi visit in Matthew 2 happened when Jesus was approximately 2 years old (v16).

v1: The meaning of Bethlehem is The House of Bread. And Jesus is the Bread of God (John 6:33), Bread of Life (John 6:35,48), The Living Bread (John 6:51), The Bread from Heaven (John 6:58). Bethlehem was home of Boaz (Ruth 2:4), the great grandfather of King David (Ruth 4:21-22). King David grew up in this town (1 Sam 16:1). Bethlehem is 5 miles SW of Jerusalem. Its name is Abraham’s time is Ephrath. Jacob’s wife Rachel gave birth to Benjamin and died in Ephrath. She was buried there (Gen 35:19, 48:7).

v1: King Herod is a descendent of Esau, an Edomite. He was appointed by Romans Emperor to reign Palestine from 37BC to 4BC. Isaac had blessed Jacob to be Lord over his brothers (Gen 27:29), but in Jesus’s time, the descendent of Jacob was ruled by a Edomite King.

v1: Traditionally people assumes there were three Magi because of three gifts, however the number of Magi is actually not mentioned by Matthew. They came from east of Jerusalem, the journey probably took them close to 2 years.

v2: The only prophesy related to a star in OT is given by Balaam in Numbers 25:17-19. “A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the sons of Sheth. Edom will be conquered; Seir, his enemy, will be conquered, but Israel will grow strong. A ruler will come out of Jacob and destroy the survivors of the city.” It is unknown what kind of star did the Magi observed that brought them to Jerusalem. It must be a journey of tremendous faith for them to travel for 2 years. Their purpose of the visit is to worship Jesus.

v2: What is the star of Jesus? How bright was it? What is its color? How fast does it move? Did it only show up once in history of the earth? How did the magi know that particular star was the star of the King of the Jews? There are many questions about the star of the King, throughout the history there were many speculations, however the bible did not mention much about the actual star. The focus is on the King, our Lord Jesus Christ. The purpose of the star is to point us to Jesus.

v3: It is understandable why the King was disturbed. A King is naturally disturbed by anything that could affect his kingship. Also perhaps he was aware of the prophesy in Numbers 25:17-19. Why all Jerusalem was disturbed with King Herod? Should not the Jews be excited because their King is born? Were they not waiting for hundreds of years for the promised Messiah? Perhaps the Jews in Jerusalem were concerned what King Herod would do to the Jews to get rid of this baby King of Jews. This shows the heart of the Jews, most of them were not waiting for the Messiah. They were more concern about their own life.

v4: The King of the Jews is The Messiah is probably a fairly common knowledge at that time, even King Herod knew it.

v5-6: They chief priests and the teachers of the law knew about the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. They obviously heard that the magi saw the star of the Messiah. However there is no record that any one of them go to Bethlehem to look for the Messiah. There is lesson to learn here. We could study the bible for sake of academic, or maybe to fulfill our Christian duty, or maybe to prepare to a lead bible study or to give a sermon. Our head could know the facts, the history, the prophesies or the teaching in the bible, but our heart may not follow the Lord, may not be waiting for the return of the Lord.

v6: This is a reference of Micah 5:2. One of the four references to OT prophesies in this chapter. Isaiah prophesied the Messiah would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 11:14), Micah prophesied that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

v7: The star may have appeared when Jesus was born, approximately two years ago.

v8: Herod obviously lied to the Magi here. He was planning to kill, not to worship Jesus.

v9: It was Herod who sent the Magi to Bethlehem. If the Magi knew about Micah 5:2, they did not need to ask around in Jerusalem where the Messiah would be. They could have bypass Jerusalem and went directly to Bethlehem, and could have avoid Herod, and potentially the killing of babies in Bethlehem. This shows us the importance of worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. As believers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we ought to know His Word and be obedient to His leading.

v9-10: “The star went ahead of the Magi and stopped over the place where the child was.” A star is in outer space, in the sky, how did a star stop over the place on earth? What actually happened here? How did the Magi find Jesus? “When they saw the star, they were overjoyed”. It is possible that the star didn’t show up all the time. When the Magi were searching for Jesus in Bethlehem, they didn’t know exactly where Jesus would be. They probably went to many places in Bethlehem to find Jesus. Bethlehem was a small village, so it is not very hard to look for every single houses. When they reached the house where Jesus and his parents were living, it was at night, and the star of Messiah suddenly show up.

v11: The gift represent the origin of Christ, the life of Christ and the work of Christ. Gold represents glory, meaning Christ is the Son of God, born as man. Incense represents the fragrance of the sinless, perfect life of Christ on earth. Myrrh represents the redemption work of Christ on the cross, because Myrrh was used a embalmment of the death.

The Escape of Egypt

  1. Why did the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph instead of the Mary? (v13, v20)
  2.  “Out of Egypt I called my son” is from Hosea 11:1. Hosea was referring to Israel when he wrote it, but the Holy Spirit has the Lord Jesus in mind for this verse.
  3. v16: This verse shows the cruelness of King Herod. It was a nightmare for the parents for babies in Bethlehem.
  4. v18: This is a quote from Jeremiah 31:15. Jeremiah was prophesying the restoration of Israel after the exile to Babylon in that chapter. In the middle of the prophesy, Jeremiah prophesied the killing of babies ordered by King Herod. Where is Ramah? Is that Bethlehem?

The Return to Nazareth

  1. What is the meaning of Nazarene?
  2. Why this particular quote is not in OT?

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