Two KingsNovember 19, 2014 at 4:00 pm | Posted in Matthew | 2 Comments
Tags: Acts 1, birth of Jesus, commentary on Matthew, Jesus Christ, King Herod, manger scenes, Matthew 2, Matthew 3, Nativity, Sunday School lessons on Matthew
Our Savior’s name is “Jesus.” His title is the “Christ,” because He was anointed and sent by the Father. His description is “Immanuel,” because He is “God with us.”
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, 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.
Gentiles came to worship Jesus as King of the Jews, but the traditional manger scenes are inaccurate. The Magi arrived much later.
The Jewish people themselves did not recognize Jesus as their king. Herod the Great was called “king” because of the influence of Marc Antony on the Senate in Rome. Herod was a descendant of Esau, whereas Jesus was a descendant of Jacob. Esau was carnal and Jacob was spiritual. Esau was worldly and Jacob was godly.
Herod died in 4 B.C. and Jesus was born in 6 or 5 B.C. Jesus had a reputation of being “from Nazareth,” even though He was born in Bethlehem, because He grew up in Nazareth. Nazareth was a humble place, and this prepared Him for a life of humility. As a parent, your prayers for your children may be answered in their persecution and humiliation. Contrary to the cliche’ whereby it sounds noble to want your children to have all the things you never had as a child, there is no command in the Bible to give them all the things that we never had. Sometimes we perceive over-bearing parents as legalistic when in reality they are just preparing their children for adversity for Christ’s sake later in life. Will a child who is embarrassed to dress modestly ever stand up in public and proclaim Christ? Will he ever knock on a stranger’s door and confront him about the condition of his soul? Jesus “of Nazareth” was probably used to being looked down upon, scorned, and ridiculed.
Matthew Chapter 3 records the first information on John the Baptist. John the Baptist appears in the New Testament of the Bible, but he was not the first New Testament prophet. He was actually the last Old Testament (Covenant) prophet. I doubt he would be any more popular today than he was in his own day. As people gathered to hear his message, he called the religious leaders a generation of vipers.
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
Lord, help us to turn away from our idols, and to turn toward You. Help us to turn our faces, and our feet, and our minds, and most of all our hearts, to You. Lord, turn Your face toward us. Draw near to us, Lord. We don’t say this lightly, for Your presence will destroy the unholy and the vain – the empty and foolish things which stand in places where only Your glory should stand. We make a dangerous request, Lord, for You are holy, but we do it with great trust in Your mercy, and in the name of Christ Jesus. Amen.