Matthew 2

This devotional is written by Mark Taylor.

Matthew 2

The Magi visit the Messiah
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’

3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 ‘In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied, ‘for this is what the prophet has written:

6 ‘“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.”'

7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.’

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

The escape to Egypt
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.’

14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.’

16 When Herod realised that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

18 ‘A voice is heard in Ramah,
    weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
    and refusing to be comforted,
    because they are no more.’

The return to Nazareth
19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.’

21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.


Here we have the classic story of the Wise Men's fascinating journey to find a young Jesus, and Herod's attempt to kill him.
We all know the part of the Wise Men, or Magi as they are referred to here, in the Nativity story.
But it often surprises people when they first hear that they were not actually in the stable on that extraordinary night, but rather took on the long journey from Persia to Jerusalem months and months later.
This journey would have been filled with danger and discomfort, riding a camel for days on end through the devastating heat and bitter cold of the desert.
But the Magi show an unwavering faith and trust in God that he will lead them to the Messiah, and He responds by sending a star to guide their path, pretty handy for a group of astrologers!
Upon reaching Jerusalem, it's no surprise that Herod is "disturbed" to hear he is to be overthrown, and the people of the city are too, because they fear more of the same hostile rule they have endured under Herod.
The Magi reach their destination, and present toddler Jesus with gold, frankincense and myrrh, just what every two year old wants!
These lavish gifts would probably have seemed rather out of place in the modest house Mary and Joseph had settled in.
But the Magi believed they were searching for a royal prince, and it was, and still is, Eastern custom not to approach princes without presents.
While the gifts were presented to Jesus, not his parents, some theologians believe the gold helped Joseph to secure their passage out of Egypt later in this chapter, which is just another example of God providing for us when we need it.
After venturing to Egypt to avoid Herod's wicked plan, Joseph takes Mary and Jesus to settle in Nazareth, fulfilling a truly amazing amount of prophecies in this chapter.

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