Matthew 2: As The Prophets Said

Blessed Good Friday!

Today is a truly somber day, yet “good” nonetheless because of what it means and what comes on Sunday.  It is an interesting juxtaposition to be reading about the birth of Christ on the day we remember his death.  Though, I wonder if death didn’t remain in the back of Jesus’ mind everyday of his earthly life.  Praise God for his faithfulness!

Four times in this chapter we are told that the events of Jesus’ early life are unfolding as the prophets of old foretold:

  • Jesus was born in Bethlehem because “that’s what it says in the prophet.” (2:5)
  • Joseph took his family to Egypt to flee from the murderous Herod in order to “fulfill what the lord said through the prophet.” (2:15)
  • The “murder of the innocents” in Bethlehem was even foretold: “That was when the word that came through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled.” (2:17)
  • Joseph took his family to Nazareth to settle once Herod the Great had died because “this was to fulfill what the prophet had spoken.” (2:23)

Scholars opine that each of the gospels was probably written to a specific audience, just like the letters were.  Many experts see much in Matthew to suggest that it was intend for a Jewish audience.  The emphasis on fulfilled Jewish prophecy about the Messiah is a key piece of evidence for a Jewish background.

Regardless of theory, this chapter reminds us that Jesus didn’t come out of nowhere as a self-styled Messiah.  He is the one talked about long ago.  He isn’t “new” as much as he is “very old.”  Jesus was no after-thought.  He is the long-desired one.  And he is here.  Now.  God with us.

What struck you about this chapter?

Categories: Matthew | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Matthew 2: As The Prophets Said

  1. Chris Dahlberg

    As Jason noted, the Plan for the coming of the Messiah wasn’t new, but very intentional, from the beginning. God knows his creation so well!

    And I can’t help but be thankful for, impressed by the faithfulness of Joseph in all of this. Can you imagine the inner struggles he must have gone through. Yet he kept listening to the dreams and found them to be of God and therefore, he obeyed. I find myself wishing to hear his words, what he was thinking. Of course, he disappears from the story very soon…

  2. Pingback: Prophets and Traditionalists « JRFibonacci's blog: partnering with reality

  3. I love how Peterson calls the wise men “scholars.” I have always pictured the wise men as aged, gentle nice men who are just known for making good decisions – like a wise grandfather or uncle. Emphasis on everyday wisdom not book-smarts and intelligence or scholarship.

    Clearly Peterson is setting these scholars who do seek after Jesus to honor him against the Jewish “religion scholars” who act as Herod’s cronies, those who will oppose Jesus in this book.

    But on a more personal note, “scholar” is a very helpful word. All of my professional life I have wanted to be a scholar. Too often, especially in higher educational circles “scholar” means one who knows, one who writes, one who analyzes and critiques, but scholarship usually stops there. Scholarship doesn’t always cause one to act. Piety and scholarship don’t automatically go hand in hand.

    But it did for these scholars. They were no less wise or scholarly for setting out on a long journey to adore a baby. THAT is a best kind of scholar, the kind I want to be.

  4. Eddy

    Well said. For what it’s worth … I’ve seen you as this kind of scholar many times in my life. Your thoughts here make me want to look more deeply into what God’s vision of a true artist is in the Bible.

    • Thanks, Eddy. I am glad I have lucked into right behavior a few times!

      I would love to see what your search for the true artist reveals!

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