Reflections on Scripture

by Wayne Bandy

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ENTERED: May 07, 2018
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Scripture Passage

      Matthew - Chapter 02 (Contemporary English Version)
    1. When Jesus was born in the village of Bethlehem in Judea, Herod was king. During this time some wise men from the east came to Jerusalem
    2. and said, "Where is the child born to be king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
    3. When King Herod heard about this, he was worried, and so was everyone else in Jerusalem.
    4. Herod brought together the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses and asked them, "Where will the Messiah be born?"
    5. They told him, "He will be born in Bethlehem, just as the prophet wrote,
    6. 'Bethlehem in the land of Judea, you are very important among the towns of Judea. From your town will come a leader, who will be like a shepherd for my people Israel.' "
    7. Herod secretly called in the wise men and asked them when they had first seen the star.
    8. He told them, "Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, let me know. I want to go and worship him too."
    9. The wise men listened to what the king said and then left. And the star they had seen in the east went on ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.
    10. They were thrilled and excited to see the star.
    11. When the men went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they knelt down and worshiped him. They took out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh and gave them to him.
    12. Later they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, and they went back home by another road.
    13. After the wise men had gone, an angel from the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up! Hurry and take the child and his mother to Egypt! Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is looking for the child and wants to kill him."
    14. That night, Joseph got up and took his wife and the child to Egypt,
    15. where they stayed until Herod died. So the Lord's promise came true, just as the prophet had said, "I called my son out of Egypt."
    16. When Herod found out that the wise men from the east had tricked him, he was very angry. He gave orders for his men to kill all the boys who lived in or near Bethlehem and were two years old and younger. This was based on what he had learned from the wise men.
    17. So the Lord's promise came true, just as the prophet Jeremiah had said,
    18. "In Ramah a voice was heard crying and weeping loudly. Rachel was mourning for her children, and she refused to be comforted, because they were dead."
    19. After King Herod died, an angel from the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph while he was still in Egypt.
    20. The angel said, "Get up and take the child and his mother back to Israel. The people who wanted to kill him are now dead."
    21. Joseph got up and left with them for Israel.
    22. But when he heard that Herod's son Archelaus was now ruler of Judea, he was afraid to go there. Then in a dream he was told to go to Galilee,
    23. and they went to live there in the town of Nazareth. So the Lord's promise came true, just as the prophet had said, "He will be called a Nazarene."

Matthew - Chapter 02

Entered: January 14, 2005

Entered: November 27, 2009
The wondrous events surrounding Jesus' birth did not end when He was born. Prior to His birth we would include in the 'wondrous events' the appearance of angels to both Mary and Joseph, Mary's immaculate concept, along with the appearance of angels and shepherds on the night of His birth. Now we have the appearance of wise men, or Magi who were directed by a star. What kind of star is it that one can follow to a precise point? Whatever it was, it was not likely a star high in the heavens, but rather a manifestation of some sort at a lower altitude, and definitely a 'wondrous event.'

How did the Magi connect the star to the King of the Jews? That was another wondrous event, for they must have had a special revelation to have made the connection. When the Magi inquired of Herod concerning this King of the Jews, what caused Herod to connect this to the Messiah? This may well be numbered among the wondrous events. Another occurrence, or maybe I should say lack of occurrence, that might be counted a wondrous event was the failure by any Jewish leader to appear in Bethlehem curious about this unusual birth. The appearance of the magi is thought to have been about two years after Christ's birth. By this time it would seem that word would have gotten around about the birth in Bethlehem. We know shepherds witnessed the birth. Did they not pass word of the birth? Were the citizens of Bethlehem not aware of angels and lights, etc. on the night of the birth? Then, two years later, there was the appearance of the Magi which disturbed not only Herod but "all Jerusalem," followed by Herod's strange inquiry of the chief priests and scribes concerning the Messiah.  Should not all of this have aroused some interest or curiosity on the part of the chief priests and scribes? And yet, to our knowledge, no Jewish religious leaders came on the scene in Bethlehem in connection with Jesus' birth. This seems to me to be intentional on God's part.

Following the visit of the Magi they were directed in a dream not to go back to Herod, and Joseph was directed in a dream to take his family to Egypt. The wondrous events continue. How did Herod's killing of the young boys fit in? We know it was a fulfillment of prophecy, but what was its purpose? Whatever its purpose, it should have been another factor to gain the attention of the chief priests. The wondrous events continue following the death of Herod. How old must Jesus have been by this time? Joseph was directed in a third dream to return to Israel. As the family returned to Israel, a fourth dream directed Joseph not to make their home in the region of Judea but to go to the more remote area of Nazareth in Galilee. This, too, was a fulfillment of prophecy.

The signs were there for the spiritually attuned to be aware that God was up to something in relation to Christ's birth. Might we be better prepared for life's occurrences, big and small, if we are closely attuned to God and what He desires to reveal to us?