Matthew 1-2 Honoring The Savior's Birth

Merry Christmas To All
Matthew 1:18-2:12     December 24 2006

Jesus was born in Bethlehem during the reign of
King Herod. Wise men came to Jeruselem looking
for the new King of the Jews. They had followed
an unusual star. Religious leaders told Herod the
star meant that the Messiah would be born in
Bethlehem. Herod sent the wise men to Bethlehem,
telling them he would like to worship the baby as
well, and to return with news of baby’s whereabouts.
The wise men found Jesus, Mary , and Joseph. They
worshiped Jesus and gave Him several Gifts. Warned
in a dream to avoid Herod, they returned home by
another route.

1. Believe God’s Message (Matt. 1:18-23)

Matt. 1:18   This is how the birth of Jesus Christ
came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be
married to Joseph, but before they came together,
she was found to be with child through the Holy
Spirit. 1:19   Because Joseph her husband was a
righteous man and did not want to expose her to
public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her
quietly. 1:20   But after he had considered this, an
angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and
said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take
Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived
in her is from the Holy Spirit. 1:21   She will give
birth to a son, and you are to give him the name
Jesus, because he will save his people from their
sins.” 1:22   All this took place to fulfill what the
Lord had said through the prophet: 1:23   “The virgin
will be with child and will give birth to a son, and
they will call him Immanuel”  —which means, “God
with us.”

Pledged to be Married. There were no sexual
relations during a Jewish betrothal period, but it
was a much more binding relationship than a
modern engagement and could be broken only by
divorce (v. 19). In Dt 22:24 a betrothed woman is
called a “wife,” though the preceding verse speaks
of her as being “pledged to be married.” Matthew
uses the terms “husband” (v. 19) and “wife” (v. 24)
of Joseph and Mary before they were married.
Righteous. To Jews this meant being zealous in
keeping the law. Divorce Her Quietly. He would sign
the necessary legal papers but not have her judged
publicly and stoned (Dt 22:23-24). IN a Dream. The
phrase occurs five times in the first two chapters
of Matthew (here; 2:12-13,19,22) and indicates the
means the Lord used for speaking to Joseph. Son Of
David. Perhaps a hint that the message of the angel
related to the expected Messiah. Take Mary Home as
Your Wife. They were legally bound to each other, but
not yet living together as husband and wife. What Is
Conceived in Her Is From The Holy Spirit. This agrees
perfectly with the announcement to Mary (Lk 1:35),
except that the latter is more specific (see note on
Lk 1:26-35). Fulfill. Twelve times (here; 2:15,23; 3:15;
4:14; 5:17; 8:17; 12:17; 13:14,35; 21:4; 27:9) Matthew
speaks of the OT being fulfilled, i.e., of events in NT
times that were prophesied in the OT —a powerful
testimony to the divine origin of Scripture and its
accuracy even in small details. In the fulfillments we
also see the writer’s concern for linking the gospel
with the OT. See  Isa 7:14. This is the first of at least
47 quotations, most of them Messianic, that Matthew
takes from the OT.

2. Live In Obedience (Matt. 1:24-25)

Matt. 1:24   When Joseph woke up, he did what the
angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary
home as his wife. 1:25   But he had no union with her
until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the
name Jesus.

If Mary and Joseph tried to explain the virgin
conception to their family or close friends, they
might have been ridiculed. Joseph probably
considered all of these scenarios and still decided
to obey the angel’s instructions.
Joseph is a role model for Christians. His obedience
reminds us that we should obey God even when our
obedience might cause others to misunderstand or
criticize us.

3. Seek The Savior (Matt. 2:1-5A)

Matt. 2:1   After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in
Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the
east came to Jerusalem 2:2   and asked, “Where is
the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw
his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
2:3   When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and
all Jerusalem with him.  2:4   When he had called
together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of
the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born.
2:5   “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied,

Bethlehem in Judea. A village about five miles south of
Jerusalem. Matthew says nothing of the events in
Nazareth ( Lk 1:26-56). Possibly wanting to emphasize
Jesus’ Davidic background, he begins with the events
that happened in David’s city. It is called “Bethlehem
in Judea,” not to distinguish it from the town of the same
name about seven miles northwest of Nazareth, but to
emphasize that Jesus came from the tribe and territory
that produced the line of Davidic kings. That Jews expected
the Messiah to be born in Bethlehem and to be from David’s
family is clear from Jn 7:42. King Herod. Herod the Great
(37-4 B.C.), to be distinguished from the other Herods in
the Bible (see chart on “House of Herod,” Matthew 2:1).
Herod was a Non-jew, an Idumean, who was appointed king
of Judea by the Roman Senate in 40 B.C. and gained control
in 37. Like most rulers of the day, he was ruthless,
murdering his wife, his three sons, mother-in-law, brother
-in-law, uncle and many others —not to mention the babies
in Bethlehem (v. 16). His reign was also noted for splendor,
as seen in the many theaters, amphitheaters, monuments,
pagan altars, fortresses and other buildings he erected or
refurbished —including the greatest work of all, the
rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem, begun in 20 B.C. and
finished 68 years after his death. MAGI. Probably astrologers,
perhaps from Persia or southern Arabia, both of which are
east of Palestine. Jeduselem. Since they were looking for the
“King of the Jews” (v. 2), they naturally came to the Jewish
capital city . KING OF THE JEWS. Indicates the Magi were
Gentiles. Matthew shows that people of all nations
acknowledged Jesus as “king of the Jews” and came to
worship him as Lord. Star. Probably not an ordinary star,
planet or comet, though some scholars have identified it
with the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn.  Chief Priests.
Sadducees who were in charge of worship at the temple in
Jerusalem. Teachers of the Law. The Jewish scholars of the
day, professionally trained in the development, teaching and
application of OT law. Their authority was strictly human
and traditional.

4. Worship Jesus (Matt. 2:9-11)

Matt. 2:9   After they had heard the king, they went on
their way, and the star they had seen in the east went
ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the
child was. 2:10   When they saw the star, they were
overjoyed. 2:11   On coming to the house, they saw the
child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and
worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and
presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and
of myrrh.

This prophecy from Micah had been given seven centuries
earlier. House. Contrary to tradition, the Magi did not visit
Jesus at the manger on the night of his birth as did the
shepherds. They came some months later and visited him as
a “child” in his “house.” The Child With His Mother Mary.
Every time the child Jesus and his mother are mentioned
together, he is mentioned first (vv. 11,13-14,20-21). GOLD. . .
INCENSE. . . MYRRH. The three gifts perhaps gave rise to the
legend that there were three “wise men.” But the Bible does
not indicate the number of the Magi, and they were almost
certainly not kings. MYRRH. See Ge 37:25.


Today we can honor Jesus as Savior by worshiping
Him. We recognize that the baby Jesus grew up to die on
the cross and save us from our sins. When we worship Him
in spirit and in truth, we acknowledge Him as our Lord
and Savior. We can give today that honor Jesus and enable
more people to learn about the salvation He provided for
them. For example, we can give generously to the Lottie
Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions.