About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Section - Chapter 2
2 verse 1 begins with the words “after
Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea”.
For more of Jesus’ actual birth you can read Luke and Mark.
Matthew skips this part and goes right to “after” his birth,
which is most likely months after, maybe even 2 years after.
is very interesting to note that Jesus, the real sacrificial lamb was born
in verse 1 are the words, “during the time of Herod”.
Much can be said about Herod which I will not get into.
He was known as Herod the Great, and also known to be called King
of the Jews since his sphere of authority was over the Jews, thus helping
us to understand why he wanted the newly born Jesus killed.
died in 4 BC so we know that Jesus was probably born in or around 2 or 4
BC, not in 1 AD as you might expect.
was a pretty evil man. He
actually killed many people in his own family, sons, wife, and in-laws, so
he had no problem trying to kill all children under the age of two years
see the word “magi” in verse 1. These men were astronomers and
astrologers who were known to be very wise in their day.
These men would have been well esteemed in the country they came
from and also throughout the east. Matthew tells us that they came from
the east. Because these men
were seen as wise men they were rulers or shepherds over the people in
which they lived among.
wise men came to
in verse 2 we see that these wise men claimed that they saw “his star”
in the sky and came to “worship Him”.
There’s been much discussion concerning this star.
Was this a miraculous star, or some natural star?
History does tells that sometime around the birth of Jesus there
were 3 planets that lined up together that would have looked like one
bright star in that part of that world, but that doesn’t really answer
the question. I’m not sure
there is a logical answer to this question.
It might well have just been a miracle star from God for the
note that the wise men wanted to worship baby Jesus.
That would be blasphemy to any Jew.
Also, just imagine what Jews
would think when a Gentile comes to them announcing that their Messiah had
been born. I don’t think
they’d receive such information from a Gentile source.
3 tells us that when Herod heard this, he was disturbed, and all
know why the Jews would have been disturbed.
They did not picture their Messiah being born into humanity in such
verse 4 we see that Herod knew where to turn to when having questions
about the Jewish Messiah. He
called in all the teachers and priests to ask them where they thought
their Messiah would be born.
reply is found in verse 5. They
told Herod that the Messiah would be born in “Bethlehem of Judea”
because that is what the Scriptures say.
I note again that Matthew is a very educated Jew and is directing
his writing mostly to Jews, so he often brings in Old Testament writings
to prove Jesus is the Messiah, and that is what he is doing here.
This might well be why Matthew doesn’t go into great detail about
Jesus’ birth. He wants to
get right to the issue that Jesus is the Messiah.
Jews answer Herod by quoting Micah 5:2.
The Messiah would truly come out of Bethlehem of Judea.
This prophecy tells us that the Messiah would “rule’ over His
people. The Greek word
“poimaino” is translated as rule.
This Greek word means “to shepherd” and is translated as
“shepherd” or “to feed” throughout the New Testament.
So when we see the word “rule” in this case, part of what is
important to know is that Jesus rules as a shepherd would rule over his
sheep. In this sense we see
the caring aspect to Jesus’ leadership which is fundamental to the way
He rules and should be fundamental for the way church leaders rule.
verse 7 we see that after Herod spoke to the Jews, he called in the wise
men and asked them at what time they
this star. He called them in
sure the Jews would not have been all that happy with Herod speaking to
They would have viewed these wise men as worshippers of a foreign
verse 9 Herod tells these wise men to go to
question is sometimes raised, “how did these wise men even know about
Jesus in the first place”? Did
they know about Him before the angel spoke to them”?
Men like these magi knew lots about many religions and it is most
likely that they knew of the Jewish Messiah that would come some day.
These men were from the east. This
means that they were from the eastern side of the Jordan River towards
24:17 is interesting in relation to the star the magi saw.
This verse says that a “star will come out of Jacob”.
Some commentators suggest that the star in the sky is alluded to in
Num. 24:17. It is clear to me
that the star referred in this verse refers to Jesus.
I’m not sure it refers to the star in the sky, but it might well
be that the star in the sky was a type of Jesus.
verse 9 we see the magi leaving Herod and following the star that stopped
right over where Jesus was. One might ask, “did others see this star”?
“Could have Herod seen the star as well and followed it’?
Some might suggest that only the wise men saw the star and that is
the miracle of the star, but we don’t know the answer to this for sure.
in verse 9 we see the word “child”.
Jesus is described here as a child, not a baby, because he was no
longer a baby at this point.
10 says that the magi were “overjoyed” when seeing the star.
Maybe the star had actually stopped shining for them while they
verse 10 we note that the wise men found the child, not the baby, in a
house with his mother Mary. Note
that Mary and Jesus were in a house. They
were not in the barn or stable where Jesus was born.
Many have gotten this point wrong.
The wise men did not come and visit Jesus in the stable.
11 says that they bowed in worship. This
is what worship is all about. It
is bowing, bowing our knees, and most of all bowing our hearts and lives.
Bowing suggests submission and reverence to the one that is being
worshipped. This in fact is
what the magi were doing They
were recognizing that Jesus was in fact the King of the Jews, and they
showed this in their worship.
of their worship consisted of presenting Jesus with gifts of gold, incense
and myrrh. It is commonly
understood that the significance of these gifts are as follows.
Gold points to the kingship of Jesus.
Incense points to the priestly aspect to Jesus as being our great
High Priest. Incense is burned
by priests. Myrrh, once
it is crushed gives forth a perfume like fragrance.
This might well have spoken to the death of Jesus. Once He was
crushed as was predicted in Isa. 53, Jesus became a sweet smelling
fragrance to the Lord. Jesus’
death that was a sacrifice, an offering made by God to God, is often seen
as a sweet smelling offering in the Bible.
12 ends this section. These
men had a dream about the scheme Herod was planning.
In the dream they were told not to go back to Herod, so they
didn’t. They returned to
their country a different way than which they came.
think there’s something to be said about these magi coming to worship
Jesus. These were Gentiles.
Jesus was a Jew and came to the Jews as their Messiah.
Yet the work of Jesus, especially the cross, was for all people,
not just the Jews. These magi
represented all the Gentile world that would be given the opportunity to
worship Jesus along side Jews. So
from the very beginning of Jesus’ earthly life, we see both Jews and
Gentiles associated with Him.
In the end, as Paul says, Jesus broke down the wall between these
two groups of people.
this point in verse 13 Mary, Joseph and Jesus are still in
is interesting to note that Joseph, Mary and Jesus are following a similar
14 tells us that they all left during the night, presumably so they would
not be seen.
15 tells us that they stayed in
one of the 37 Old Testament quotes is found in verse 15.
Hosea 11:1 is quoted. “Out of
is interesting to me that Matthew being
a Jew working for the Roman government, who would have been
despised by the rest of the Jewish population knows all these Scriptures.
He was educated in the economics of the day.
He was probably banned from the synagogue, but he sure knew his
verse 16 we see that Herod is furious.
He waited for the magi to return to him and tell him where the baby
Messiah was, but they never came. They
had gone home in a different way in which they arrived.
So Herod sent out the order to kill all baby boys under the age of
2 in and around
can’t say for sure if Jesus was 2 years old at the time.
He might well have been a year and a half.
I’m sure that Herod chose 2 years and under just to make sure
Jesus got killed. Now many
historians feel that there might have only been 20 to 30 boys under the
age of 2 in that area. This is
somewhat of a guess, but understanding the population of the area at that
time would suggest that the numbers wouldn’t be in the hundreds.
another Scripture is quoted next, from Jer. 31:15. This passage speaks of
Ramah weeping and mourning, and also Rachel weeping for her children that
were no more. The connection
between Rachel and Ramah is most likely due to the tradition that Rachel,
Jacob’s wife was buried in Ramah. This
is symbolic of all the women in the area weeping over
the loss of their young baby boys.
again we see the work of satan in trying to destroy Jesus from an early
age, something that satan continued to do up until the end.
In the process of trying to kill Jesus, satan killed many other
little boys. Satan may be well
prepared and have his plans well thought out but this goes to show that he
is reckless and uncaring in how he tries to destroy Jesus and now Jesus’
19 and 20 tell us that God spoke to Joseph once again in a dream.
He told him to take his wife and Jesus back
verse 22 and 23 we see Joseph, Mary and Jesus head back into