Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summary of Matthew 2

Around two years of silence bridge the gap between the first and second chapters of Matthew. The narrative picks back up to tell us of a plot on Jesus' life. The Pharisees were not the first ones to seek to kill Jesus. Long before that, King Herod tried to do the same (Matthew 2:7-8).

Matthew's account begins with the wise men. Whether there where exactly three of them we do not know, but we do know that they came from the East, seeking for Jesus so that they could worship Him (Matthew 2:1-2). When Herod heard of their purpose, he "inquired of them where the Christ was to be born" (Matthew 2:4).

Although Herod was near the end of his life, he did not want any rivals to his throne— even if that rival happened to be a child. And so, Herod sent away the wise men so that they could find Jesus. Then Herod waited for them to come back.

But the wise men never went back. When they found Jesus, they worshiped Him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11). Then, after being warned in a dream, the wise men left without seeing Herod (Matthew 2:12).

Herod stopped waiting. The wise men were not coming back. Even though Herod did not know where Christ was in Bethlehem, this did not stop him. To play it "safe," Herod ordered all boys two and under in Bethlehem to be slaughtered (Matthew 2:16).

Yet in all the death, God was still in control. Before Herod's order was carried out, God commanded Joseph to flee with Mary and Jesus to Egypt (Matthew 2:13). This was done in order that the words of the prophets would be fulfilled. Christ, as had been spoken long ago, experienced exile in Egypt, and later, once Herod died, He experienced an exodus from Egypt (Matthew 2:18, 15).

After Herod's death, Jesus eventually ended up in Nazareth, likely the place where Mary grew up (Matthew 2:19-23). This took place in order to fulfill what the prophets had expressed concerning the Messiah: "He shall be called a Nazarene" (Matthew 2:23). What follows this final citation in Matthew chapter two is more silence— not two years this time, but almost thirty.

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