Wednesday, December 31, 2014

After Jesus was Born.

Dear Friends and Family,
Here is the story of what happened after the 'Birth of Jesus' from Matthew 2.

1) Watch and Listen to the Story. Then 2) Read the Commentary (below). 

This story contrasts Herod, the king appointed by Rome, and Jesus, the king anointed by God. After Jesus’ birth, Magi came to Jerusalem in search of the ‘one who had been born king of the Jews’. It was Jesus, not Herod, who was ‘born king of the Jews’. Herod was a descendant of Esau (not Jacob) and he was no ‘shepherd to Israel’. News of ‘one born king of the Jews’ disturbed Herod for it meant that Herod had a genuine rival.

Herod knew the Christ would be ‘born king of the Jews’, but didn’t know where the Christ was to be born. The chief priests and the teachers of the law knew where the Christ was to be born, but they didn’t know he had already been born. The Magi knew that the ‘king of the Jews’ had been born, but they needed the scripture to know where he was born.

Herod called the Magi to find out when to the star had appeared and sent them to Bethlehem to find the child. Herod claimed to want to worship the Christ but he really wanted him dead. Herod had killed his wife and three sons whom he suspected of plotting his overthrow. He was so threatened by the Christ-child that he would kill all the boys two years old and under born in and around Bethlehem in order to eliminate his rival.  

The star led the Magi to the Christ-child who they bowed before in worship. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with costly gifts. Afterwards, they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod. So they avoided Herod to protect the child aligning themselves with the ‘one born king of the Jews’. Then God sent an angel to warn Joseph to escape to Egypt for Herod was seeking to kill the child.

Joseph, Mary and Jesus flee to Egypt and become refugees in exile. Matthew quotes Hosea 11:1 which refers to Israel’s Exodus from Egypt (Exodus 4:22). Yet, Matthew applies this to Jesus; who re-enacts and completes Israel’s story. Then Matthew says the slaughter of Bethlehem’s children fulfills Jeremiah 31:15. Jeremiah 31 is about God renewing His covenant and restoring His people but it will not come without much weeping and sorrow.

Jesus is a threat to those seeking to build their own empires at the expense of others. Consequently, the shadow of death followed Jesus all his life. But Jesus didn’t come into this fallen world to live a life of ease. Through his suffering and his sin atoning death he would bring God's 'New Exodus' and accomplish God's salvation. The 'Magi' make it clear that Jesus is Israel's Messiah and the Lord of all the earth (Psalm 72:8,11; Isaiah 11:9-10).

Have a 'Great New Year (2015)',
Jay, Laura, Clara, Katherine and Lauren Stoms



No comments: