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Daily Bible Studies

N.T. Contents
Series Theme:   Matthew's Gospel Studies

Page Contents:

Chapter 2

2:1-3

2:4-6

2:7-9

2:10-12

2:13-15

2:16-18

2:19-23

Recap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2

2:1-3

2:4-6

2:7-9

2:10-12

2:13-15

2:16-18

2:19-23

Recap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2

2:1-3

2:4-6

2:7-9

2:10-12

2:13-15

2:16-18

2:19-23

Recap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2

2:1-3

2:4-6

2:7-9

2:10-12

2:13-15

2:16-18

2:19-23

Recap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2

2:1-3

2:4-6

2:7-9

2:10-12

2:13-15

2:16-18

2:19-23

Recap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2

2:1-3

2:4-6

2:7-9

2:10-12

2:13-15

2:16-18

2:19-23

Recap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2

2:1-3

2:4-6

2:7-9

2:10-12

2:13-15

2:16-18

2:19-23

Recap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2

2:1-3

2:4-6

2:7-9

2:10-12

2:13-15

2:16-18

2:19-23

Recap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

Chapter: Matthew 2

Passage: Matthew 2:1-3     

  

A. Find Out:

  

1. When did the Magi come? v.1a

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea , during the time of King Herod,

2. From where did they come and where did they go? v.1b

Magi from the east came to Jerusalem

3. What did they ask? v.2a

"Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?

4. Why? v.2b

We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

5. Who was disturbed and when? v.3

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him

B. Think:

     

1. How is this tied into an historical & geographical location?

2. What is told about Jesus from these verses?

3. What can we learn about guidance from these verses?   

      

C. Comment:

      

      The story now leaps on a number of months to a time after Jesus has been born and probably after the incidents recorded by Luke (see Luke 2). Matthew confirms that Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea and it was during the time of Herod the Great (probably about 5BC - the Christian calendar being incorrect!)

         

     We then find a group of Magi or wise men arriving from the east, probably from the area of Mesopotamia , (or possibly from different countries) who have come on a particular search.

         

      Note first WHO they are looking for: one they describe as “king of the Jews” and yet one who they are willing to “worship”. This one is obviously far more than a mere human king!

         

     Observe next WHERE they come looking: in Jerusalem .   Why?  Presumably because as the capital city of Judea they expected that was where they would find this royal personage. They have yet to learn that this royal personage is different!

        

     Finally note HOW they have come this far: they have followed a star.  Somehow these strange, virtually unidentified men, have travelled hundreds of miles because something in them told them that this particular “star” that had appeared in the sky (a comet?) had special significance. All one can say is that God sometimes uses strange means to guide His people.

          

D. Application:

         

1. God's guidance sometimes defies human intellect.

2. God always guides us towards Himself.

     

     

Chapter: Matthew 2
     
Passage: Matthew 2:4-6

   

A. Find Out:

   

1. Who did Herod call together? v.4a

he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law

2. What did he ask them? v.4b

he asked them where the Christ was to be born

3. What was their answer? v.5a

"In Bethlehem in Judea ," they replied

4. Why? v.5b

"for this is what the prophet has written:

5. How was Bethlehem described? v.6a

But you, Bethlehem , in the land of Judah , are by no means least among the rulers of Judah ;

6. How was the coming one described? v.6b

out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel .'"       

         

B. Think: 

    

1. How was Herod right in his choice of helpers? 

2. What are the 3 descriptions of Jesus in this passage?

3. What do you think should have been the reaction to this?

      

C. Comment:

   

     Herod had been disturbed by the news of the expectation of the arrival of a new king - probably because he feared a competitor (we so often do!). But at least he sees the coming one as the expected messiah (or Christ) and so calls his “experts” together to find out where such a one will first appear. In this he seems to strike gold, for they tell him straight away that the Scriptures speak of Bethlehem as the arrival place, and in that they are exactly right.

     

     Messiah or Christ simply means “anointed one”, one sent by God with a task, and the descriptions, from Micah 5:2 quoted, tell us he will be both a ruler and a shepherd. Such a description immediately make us think of the shepherd-king, David, one who raised Israel to great heights.

      

     Now the question that might arise in our minds at this point is, what sort of response should such a word evoke? This can only be good for Israel , the fact that God is sending one to look after them and rule over them means surely that God is bringing their time of subservience to an invader to an end. Yet we will see in the next study that this is not the reaction that comes. News that was intended by God to be good news is bad news for the unrighteous who fear what will happen to them!

D. Application:

         

1. How do we respond when God speaks of His coming?

2. Our response highlights the state of our heart!

   

  

Chapter: Matthew 2

  

Passage: Matthew 2:7-9

   

A. Find Out:

  

1. How did Herod meet with the Magi? v.7a

Then Herod called the Magi secretly

2. What did he find out from them? v.7b

and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.

3. Why did he tell them to go to Bethlehem ? v.8a

He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child

4. What did he tell them to do if they found the child, and why? v.8b

As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."

5. How did the Magi continue? v.9a

they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them

6. When did they stop? v.9b 

until it stopped over the place where the child was.

   

B. Think:

    

1. What does Herod's approach to the Magi suggest?

2. What might have been a more expected action?

3. What double guidance did the Magi use?

  

C. Comment:  

   

      Having heard from the “religious experts” that the Messiah should come from Bethlehem and having heard from the Magi that they believe the coming one was already there, you might think (naively perhaps!) that Herod would make a public announcement and send all the religious leaders to confirm the wonderful news, for that surely is what it ought to be seen as.   However, Herod is a politician and is looking to his own well-being and, as later verses show, his feelings towards this child were not friendly. Herod is a classical example of a two-faced person who appears interested and friendly on the outside but who is hostile on the inside.

      

     So the wise men go on as instructed to Bethlehem and the “star” continues to seem to move ahead of them until it appears to come to a standstill over Bethlehem itself. Whatever we may think of this phenomena, it is clear that it is a means of secondary or confirming guidance for these men. We may not understand how God did it, but it is guidance.

     

     For many Christians, guidance is something we have sought to neatly package into understandable bits, but the truth is that sometimes people do say, “Well I just know that this thing is God's sign for guiding me” - and it is!   

     

D. Application:

 

1. Are we two-faced? May it not be so!

2. God's guidance is sometimes strange. Let's not write it off!

    

   

Chapter: Matthew 2

  

Passage: Matthew 2:10-12

A. Find Out:

      

1. What caused the wise men joy? v.10

When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.

2. Where did the wise men find the mother & child? v.11a

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary

3. What was their first response to the child? v.11b

and they bowed down and worshiped him

4. What did they then do? v.11c

Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh

5. How did they next get guidance? v.12a

And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod,

6. So what did they do? v.12b

they returned to their country by another route

            

B. Think:      

          

1. Would there have been anything visibly different about this child, and if

     not what made the wise men worship him?

2. How much can we learn about these Magi from these few verses?

           

C. Comment:

  

       The star seems to settle over Bethlehem and the wise men have a sense of having arrived, and there is great joy. They have achieved their goal; God has led them to the new king.

     

     Note they come to the “house”, not an Inn as noted by Luke as Jesus' birth place. It is possible they had to remain in Bethlehem for at least 40 days according to Luke 2:22 to fulfil the Law of Moses, or for census reasons we don't know about, but whatever the cause they are still in Bethlehem, probably after the visit to Jerusalem (Luke 2:22-) otherwise Mary would have had more to present than two doves (Luke 2:24).

     

     The wise men see the baby and fall before it in worship. It looks the same as any other baby, but they have been guided to it and now they have a sense of the uniqueness of it, and worship it. They present three different sorts of gift, which is why we so often refer to 3 wise men, yet they could be gifts from men from three tribes - we just don't know how many there were - but we do know that they were the first worshippers of Jesus!

      

     Beyond this simple faith that produces worship, it also produces a simplicity of response to guidance and so when they have a dream they respond to it and do not return to Herod.  

       

D. Application:    

   

1. Do we have a simply faith that easily worships?

2. Do we have a simple faith that is easily guided by God?

   

Chapter: Matthew 2

   

Passage: Matthew 2:13-15

A. Find Out:

    

1. How did God next communicate with Joseph? v.13a

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream

2. Where did He tell him to go? v.13b

"Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt

3. How long was he to stay there and why? v.13c

Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him."

4. When did Joseph go? v.14

he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt

5. How long did he stay there? v.15a

where he stayed until the death of Herod

6. How did this fulfil prophecy? v.15b 

so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."  

        

B. Think:    

            

1. What do we learn again about Joseph from this passage?

2. What do we learn about the Lord from this passage?

3. How can these things reassure us? 

    

C. Comment:         

         

      The wise men have gone and this creates a problem: they were supposed to return to Herod and because they haven't, Herod will soon be taking some sort of action against this little family.  They need to be moved.  Joseph doesn't realise this but God does, so He gives Joseph a dream where he sees an angel warning him. Why didn't God speak in some other way to Joseph?   We don't know; we just know that Joseph responds well to dreams, so perhaps this is as good a way as any to warn him.

    

     The warning and instruction is quite specific: a) go to Egypt and b) stay until you are told to return and c) the reason for all this is that Herod is out to kill the boy. Joseph simply obeys immediately and they leave in the night.

      

     Again Matthew shows us that this was all according to God's plan and purpose. The Lord knew that this would happen and had hinted at it in a prophecy many years before. The Lord is not caught out by men's hostile actions; He knows how men react and He's planned for it.  He will look after His own Son and He will look after us as His adopted children. All we need to do is be alert to His warnings in whatever form they come. Perhaps we miss out guidance from God sometimes because we don't believe in the means He is using!

            

D. Application:

          

1. God cares for His children and works to protect them.

2. We can miss that protection by our unbelief.

     

  

Chapter: Matthew 2

   

Passage: Matthew 2:16-18

A. Find Out:

      

1. What did Herod realise? v.16a

Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi

2. What did he then do in response? v.16b

he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under

3. Why? v.16c

in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.

4. How does Matthew view this? v.17

Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled

5. What did the prophecy portray? v.18

A voice is heard in Ramah,weeping and great mourning

    

B. Think:    

   

1. What can we learn about timing of this incident?

2. What do we learn about Herod in these verses?

3. What must have been the effect in the land?

      

C. Comment:  

  

     We now come to a ghastly event in the story of Jesus: the so-called “murder of the innocents”.  Time has passed and Herod realises that the wise men are not returning to him as he told them to. He immediately concludes that they are against him and that the child is indeed out there somewhere. He calculates how old it must be and gives that terrible order, to sweep the countryside around Bethlehem and kill every boy child under the age of two.

  

     Could God not have stopped this?  Did this have to happen?  The answer to that sounds over-simplistic but is true: if God intervened and stopped man's inhumanity to man, to be just, He would have to stop EVERY wrong thought, every wrong act.  In other words He would have to remove our free will and we would cease to be human beings.

  

     Matthew however, senses something of God's heart and sees a fulfilment of one of Jeremiah's prophecies. Ramah was a little north of Jerusalem on the border of Judah and Israel in the old days where, before captivity, the prisoners were mustered before exile. There is anguish in the land. Rachel, Jacob's younger wife, represents Israel . There is anguish in the land and God is not impervious to it. The Lord weeps with those who weep, and feels their anguish; He doesn't want it like this but knows He must permit it.

D. Application:

          

1. God feels with those who anguish for their loss (2 Cor 1:3,4)

2. The sin of man brings anguish to the world, not the desire of God.

    

  

Chapter: Matthew 2

      

Passage: Matthew 2:19-23
 
A. Find Out:
  
1. When and how did God communicate with Joseph again? v.19
 

After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt

2. What did he tell him to do and why? v.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."

3. What was Joseph's response? v.21
 

So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel

4. How and why did God guide him again? v.22

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

5. Where did he go to live? v.23a

and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth

6. How did Matthew view this? v.23b

So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene." 

          
B. Think:
    
1. Why do you think God used dreams to communicate with Joseph?
2. How many other instances of guidance by dreams can you think of in
   the Bible?
      
C. Comment:  
   
      Joseph and family are living in the protection of Egypt when Herod dies. For a third time God communicates with Joseph through a dream and tells him it's all right to return. However when he does return he finds that Herod's son is now reigning and he fears that he might still move against them. For a fourth time God speaks to Joseph through a dream and tells him to go and live in the north in Galilee , and yet again Matthew sees this as a prophetic fulfilment, the fifth time in these two chapters he has seen it as the working out of God's declared plan.
  
     Let's consider some of these things further; first dreams.
     From the early parts of the Bible God communicated by dreams (see Gen 20:3, 6, 28:12, 31:10,11, 31:24, 37:5-9, 40:5, 41:1,5, Num12:6, Deut 13:1, 1 Kings 3:5, Dan 1:17, 2:1, 4:5-, 7:5) and indeed later God promises that when the Holy Spirit was poured out, prophetic dreams would be common place (Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17).
 
     Why dreams?   Perhaps because some people are particularly open to dreams and responding to them. Joseph certainly was! Hallelujah! He saved Jesus' life by his obedience! Next the matter of prophetic fulfilment. Matthew has the insight to see that every detail is part of God's declared plan.

   

D. Application:
   
1. Am I open for God to communicate to me through dreams?
2. Do I see the working out of God's declared will in my life? 

  

RECAP: Divine Directions - Chapter 2
 
SUMMARY :
  
In this second group of 7 studies we have seen :
   

- the arrival of wise men from the east looking for Jesus

- Bethlehem being identified as his birth place

- Herod instructing the wise men

- the wise men finding and worshipping Jesus

- dreams warning the wise men and Joseph

- Joseph taking the family to Egypt

- Herod killing all the baby boys in the region

- Joseph returning from Egypt , guided by dreams

- the family settling in Nazareth

         
COMMENT :     
  
       This is a chapter laden with divine guidance. There is the constant reference to the fulfilment of prophetic scriptures in all that takes place; an indication that the Lord knows and is behind all that is happening. Then there are constant dreams directing the wise men and Joseph.  God is sovereign, completely in control!  Hallelujah!        
       
LESSONS?     
     
1. Divine guidance sometimes comes in strange forms.
2. Faith is needed to receive such guidance.
3. God uses various forms of guidance, for us as individuals.
4. Following His guidance delivers us from enemy schemes.
5. Following His guidance brings us into a place of security.     
           
PRAY :       
      
        Thank the Lord that He is a communicating God who delights in caring for His children.
        
PART 3 : "Preparing the Way"
       In this next Part we leap on a number of years and will see John the Baptist who has been sent by God to get the people ready to receive Jesus. Watch for what John tells us about the Coming One. Then we will see Jesus coming to be baptised and the wonder of the revelation of the Trinity as the Father acclaims His Son publicly. Remember, this is still all just preparation for what is to come.