This is part of a Daily Devotional Orwell Bible Church prepares each week. You can get a copy from our Downloads and Literature page.
Here Matthew shows how Jesus came to be from Nazareth, as Jews did not expect Israel’s Christ and King to come from there (John 1:46; 7:41). Matthew addressed that hindrance to faith by walking through God’s providential accomplishment of his will.
The “wise men” (Magi) were scientists/astronomers, probably from Babylon. Through their study of the heavens they saw an unexpected star; somehow they connected that with the promised Jewish Messiah (cf. Num 24:17). Upon arriving in Jerusalem they asked around where they could find the Jews’ new King so they could worship him. Herod was so obsessed with power he eliminated every threat, so he was naturally concerned (v. 3). Herod learned where the Christ was to be born (vv. 5-6) and then sent the Magi to Bethlehem (v. 7). Then the star directed the Magi to the exact place where the young child Jesus and his parents lived (v. 9-10).
Herod’s attempt to kill Jesus was thwarted by God’s directing the Magi to not go back to Herod (v. 12) and directing Joseph to take his family to Egypt until Herod was dead (vv. 13-14). After Herod’s death the Lord directed Joseph to return to Israel where they settled in Nazareth (vv. 19-23).
Extra Note Not Included in the Daily Devotional Due to Space Limitations
Matthew’s use of Hosea 11:1 is often pointed to as “proof” that OT prophecies can have additional or “deeper” meanings. Hosea 11:1 states that Israel came out of Egypt, while Matthew 4:15 states that Jesus came out of Egypt, “fulfilling” what Hosea said. As Hosea wasn’t talking about Jesus many Christians say that Matthew saw another or “deeper” meaning that Hosea didn’t know about.
Words in a context only have one meaning, that which the author intended. The meaning of “fulfilled” depends on its context. “Fulfilled” can mean fulfillment of predictive prophecy or the application of a principle given in the single meaning of a text. Hosea 11:1 is not a prophecy, but simply stated a historical event showing God’s care for Israel by bringing them out of Egypt. Matthew applies the principle of Hosea 11:1 here: As God cared for Israel by bringing them out of Egypt, in like manner he cared for Jesus by bringing him out of Egypt. (See James 2:23 for another instance in which “fulfilled” doesn’t refer the accomplishment of a predicted prophecy but the application of the single meaning of an OT text.)
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- Objections to the Christian faith can only successfully be answered by God’s Word. The better you know God’s Word, the better you will be able to effectively teach others (cf. 1 Pet 3:15).
- People of other nations viewed Jesus as Israel’s Messiah and King.
- God’s will is made known by Scripture. General revelation gives general knowledge about God through creation and conscience, but that always requires special revelation to give the correct meaning and significance.
- Only God is to be worshiped. From the moment the infinite Sone took on humanity he is the right and only One to be worshiped—no image, painting, sculpture, or icon is an acceptable substitute.
- Ungodly rulers sinfully strive to hang on to power at the expense of innocent lives. Christ, the King of Israel, came humbly as an infant to serve others. Eventually the greatest of earthly rulers will die (v. 20).