Together in the Word (Matthew 2)

This past Sunday (January 27) we studied Matthew 2. Below is a brief outline of the chapter, a few observations we discussed, and a couple applications we made together as we endeavor to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22).

Chapter Outline

  • The visit of the magi (vv. 1-12).
  • The flight to Egypt (vv. 13-18).
  • The return to Nazareth (vv. 19-23).

Observations

  • The magi were Gentiles “from the east” (v. 1). Here again God is seen moving beyond Israel and ethnic Jews. (See also 1:1-17.)
  • Though “all the chief priests and scribes” (v. 4) were able to tell Herod where the “king of the Jews” (v. 2) was to be born, when it was suggested that this King had arrived none of them go with the magi to worship Him.
  • There are more examples of fulfilled prophecy as Matthew sites Micah 5:2 (v. 6), Hosea 11:1 (v. 15), and Jeremiah 31:15 (v. 18).
  • Though the gifts (v. 11) brought by the magi may symbolically point to Jesus as King (gold) and Priest (frankincense), as well as to His death (myrrh), they may also be an example of God’s provision. Joseph and Mary had already traveled to Bethlehem and were about to travel to Egypt (vv. 13-14). The valuable gifts brought by the magi could expense the journey.
  • This passage demonstrates how tradition can sometimes take precedent over the Word of God. Notice that the magi were not present at the birth of Jesus but arrived nearly two years later (vv. 11, 16). Nor are we told how many of them actually made the journey.
  • God is omniscient. Though Herod had deceived the magi (v. 8), his motives were known to God (v. 12).
  • There are a couple more examples of immediate obedience: the magi in heeding the warning of God and “departing to their own country another way” (v. 12) and Joseph again as he too responds to God’s warning and takes his family “to Egypt” (v. 14).
  • While earthy leaders come and go (v. 19), God remains.

Applications

  • Unlike the indifference of the religious leaders toward Christ (v. 4), the magi’s example is one to follow today. They modeled effort as they traveled great distance “from the east” to find Him (v. 1), persistence in seeking after Him (v. 2), sacrifice in bringing valuable gifts (v. 11), and faith in obeying God (v. 12).
  • That the magi were Gentiles reminds us that Christ is the Savior of the world and salvation is not limited to one people group.
  • Fulfilled prophecy shows us that God is trustworthy and that He keeps His Word.
  • God is our Provider. He sometimes uses others to meet our needs (v. 11); He sometimes uses us to meet the needs of others.
  • Though we may deceive others with our words or actions, we cannot deceive God. He knows our unspoken motives and intentions.