Matthew: The Search For The Only One Worthy Of Worship

2:1-23 The Search For The Only One Worthy Of Worship

Memory Verse: Matthew 2:11

2:1-2, 7-12 Seeking To Worship: The Wise Men

  • 2:1-2 In the days when Herod was king in Bethlehem of Judaea (a small village south of Jerusalem) Jesus was born. After He was born there came wise men (not sure how many) from the East to Jerusalem. These men were believed to be a type of magician or astronomers of their time period—those who were searching for answers and curious about the world around them. As they scanned the sky looking for answer, they saw a supernatural star in the East. With their knowledge of the Old Testament scriptures, they somehow believed this star to be the star of Him whom would be the King of the Jews, and the Christ promised in the Scriptures. It was a star announcing that He was born—we don’t know much more about this star than what is recorded here in Matthew. Thus, these wise men who were looking for answers came to the city of Jerusalem searching for and asking anyone they came across where this baby could be found. They had come to worship Him, Jesus the Christ—the only one worthy of worship.
  • 2:7-8 Herod called the wise men who entered his city to a secret meeting where he found out what time the star had appeared to them (he will use this information later). Then he sent the wise men to Bethlehem to search diligently for the young child. He also requested that when they did find him that they should return to tell him so that he could also go and worship the child. Two thing need to be noted: (1) Instead of referring to Jesus as a “baby,” they started to refer to him as a “young child” which would mean that some time had passed and this wasn’t immediately after Jesus was born. (2) Therefore, many “manger scenes” that we see around Christmas that include the baby Jesus, a star, wise men and shepherds all together are wrong in their timeline of events.
  • 2:9-11 After the wise men heard the kings orders they departed. Then all of the sudden the star they originally saw in the East appeared again. The star actually went before them leading them to the young child they were searching for, eventually standing still over the house where Jesus was. At this point they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. Next, they entered into the house and they saw the young child Jesus with his mother. Upon seeing him, they fell down and worshipped him. Finally, they opened the treasures they brought with them and presented to Jesus gifts of: (1) Gold—the currency of a king’s treasury; (2) Frankincense—incense used to worship God in the temple; and (3) Myrrh—used to anoint a human corpse before burial. Each of these give us a glimpse into who this young child really was. It represents Jesus as King and God, but also as one who was born to die; born to save us through His sinless life and sacrificial death; born that we might have life. Are we worshipping Jesus for who He really is? What gifts are we giving him?
  • 2:12 Before the wise men left, they were warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod because he had evil plans instead of plans to worship. Therefore, they departed into their own country another way and didn’t return to tell Herod the king.

2:3-4 Seeking To Be Worshiped: Herod The King

  • 2:3-4 When Herod, the reigning king at the time, had heard that these wise men came searching for a baby that was born to be King of the Jews he was troubled. Even the whole city of Jerusalem was troubled with him. Apparently, the search by the wise men was very public and believable—otherwise why would a baby cause a king to fear? Herod the king decided to gather all the chief priests and scribes of the people together (these were the spiritual leaders of the Jews), so that he could find out where Christ would be born. He wanted to find the Christ, not because he wanted to worship him, but because the Christ threatened people from worshipping him. Herod wasn’t seeking to worship the One worthy of worship, but instead he thought that he himself was worthy of worship and was seeking to be worshipped. His motives were the complete opposite of the wise men. He was blinded by pride, like many of us today. Mankind was created to worship, we will worship something or someone. What or who are you worshipping?

2:5-6, 13-23 The Only One Worthy Of Worship: Jesus The Christ

  • 2:5-6 The rest of the story tells of the fulfilled scriptures that all points to Jesus as the promised Christ of the scriptures—the only one truly worthy of worship. The first prophecy and fulfillment of the Christ (Micah 5:2): “And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.”
  • 2:13-15 When the wise men left the house of the child Jesus the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream telling him to get up and take the young child Jesus and his mother, and flee into Egypt. They were to stay there until the angel brings him word again. The reason for the departure to Egypt was that Herod the king is going to seek the young child Jesus to destroy him. When Joseph got up he did as the angel said—staying in Egypt until the death of Herod the king. The second prophecy and fulfillment of the Christ (Hosea 11:1): “Out of Egypt have I called my son.”
  • 2:16-18 Herod was an evil king. When he realized that he was mocked of the wise men—meaning they didn’t return to tell him where they found Jesus, he was extremely angry. He wanted Jesus killed. He didn’t know Jesus exact age so he calculate an age range based on the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men (from two years old and under). Also, he knew the location of Jesus birth was in Bethlehem so he order all male children in this age range to be killed there and in all the coasts thereof. It is hard to image, but even this was foretold. The third prophecy and fulfillment of the Christ (Jeremiah 31:15): “In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.”
  • 2:19-23 Finally, time passed and Herod died. Then the angel of the Lord appeared again in a dream to Joseph who was still in Egypt. This time he told him to  get up and take the young child Jesus and his mother, and go into the land of Israel because those who sought the young child’s life had died. Joseph obeyed the angel and went to Israel with his family. But he heard that Archelaus reigned in Judaea in the room of his father Herod. This caused Joseph to be afraid to go here, plus God also warned him about it in a dream, therefore he went to Galilee and lived in a city called Nazareth. The fourth prophecy and fulfillment of the Christ (Isaiah 11:1): “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

Review Questions

  • Why were the wise men seeking Jesus?
  • What were the gifts the wise men brought? What did they symbolize?
  • Why was Herod the king looking for Jesus?
  • What did all the prophecies being fulfilled point to?
  • Who are you worshipping?

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