Matthew 2: Bible Study Guide.

40-BSG-2A: WORSHIP GUIDE.

Matthew 2: Worship Guide/ 40-BSG-2A, (Matthew 2:1-12)/ Theme: You will seek Me and find Me/ Hymn: “Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe” – [Author: Elvina M. Hall (1865)].

Exploration: The wise men from the East (Mt. 2:1-12)/ Seeking God – (Is 45:19; 1 Chr. 28:9; Ps 14:2; 27:8; 32:6; 95:7; Pr. 8:17; Jer. 29:12-14; Mt 7:7-8; 2 Cor. 6:2; Heb. 2:3; 3:13; Jam. 4:8).

Reflection: Read Mt 2:1-2. “The wise men had seen a mysterious light in the heavens upon that night when the glory of God flooded the hills of Bethlehem. As the light faded, a luminous star appeared, and lingered in the sky. It was not a fixed star nor a planet, and the phenomenon excited the keenest interest. That star was a distant company of shining angels, but of this the wise men were ignorant. Yet they were impressed that the star was of special import to them. They consulted priests and philosophers, and searched the scrolls of the ancient records. The prophecy of Balaam had declared, “There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel.” Numbers 24:17. Could this strange star have been sent as a harbinger of the Promised One? The magi had welcomed the light of heaven-sent truth; now it was shed upon them in brighter rays. Through dreams they were instructed to go in search of the newborn Prince.” (The Desire of Ages, p. 60).

Devotional Implication: Seeking Christ: A lesson from the Wise Men. The wise men are presented to us here as seekers – they were earnest seekers; they sought Christ faithfully, diligently and reverently. God assisted them in the search. Having found the child, their seeking came to an end, they “fell down and worshiped Him” (Mt 2:11). Beloved, anyone who diligently seeks the LORD shall find Him: “But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:29, NKJV) Anyone who diligently seeks God’s Son shall find Him, and expect to be directed by God. The LORD intervened and warned the wise men of impending danger from Herod. In the same manner, God will direct the path of any believing soul, who diligently seeks Him: “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13, NKJV).

The Gospel’s Voice: This section is written as if God were speaking directly to you—Because He does. What does the LORD say to me this morning? My son, “I love those who love Me, And those who seek Me diligently will find Me.” (Proverbs 8:17, NKJV). Secondly, I did everything I could to reach you, through My Son Jesus Christ: He was born to die for you; to reconcile you back to Me; to show you the path to Heaven. Jesus gave His very life for you: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13, ESV) The wise men presented their gifts – gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Jesus. What have you given to Jesus Christ? Have you given your very best? Have you accepted Jesus as your LORD and Saviour? Would you be willing to do so today?

My Desire: By God’s grace, I want to – 1. Diligently seek the LORD/ 2. Worship the LORD/ 3. Give Him my very best: my time, treasures, talents, tongues, traits/ 4. “Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.” (Isaiah 55:6, NKJV)/ 5. Follow through in my commitment: “Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.” (Isa 1:18; 1 Jn 1:9; Rev 3:20)

Have A Blessed Day: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1, ESV)

Worship Through Singing: “Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe” – [Author: Elvina M. Hall (1865)].

40-BSG-2B: PRAYER GUIDE.

Matthew 2: Prayer Guide/ 40-BSG-2B, (Matthew 2:1-12)/ Theme: Devotion of the wise men/ Hymn: Tis the Blessed Hour of Prayer (SDAH 501)

Key Text: [Herod] –“Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” (Mt 2:8)

Opening Remarks: What exquisite hypocrisy! Herod only wished to find out the child that he might murder Him; but Jehovah God who searches the hearts of men prevented these evil designs from being accomplished!

Listen to this quote —“Satan was bent on shutting out the divine light from the world, and he used his utmost cunning to destroy the Saviour. But He who never slumbers nor sleeps was watching over His beloved Son. He who had rained manna from heaven for Israel and had fed Elijah in the time of famine provided in a heathen land a refuge for Mary and the child Jesus. And through the gifts of the magi from a heathen country, the Lord supplied the means for the journey into Egypt and the sojourn in a land of strangers.” – (The Desire of Ages, p.65). Beloved, as we come to the today’s Prayer Session, we are invited to— 1. Consider God’s power to protect His own/ 2. Render to Christ the offering from the heart/ 3. Devote our lives to Jesus: talents, money, resources, plans, bodies/ 4. Desire to seek and worship Him whole-heartedly.

Values to Build On: Obedience to God, Courage, Family, godly Fear, Prayer, Worship to Jesus Christ, Trust in God’s care/ providence.

Sins to Avoid/ Confess: 1. Entrapment (plotting harm to another, devising evil, craftiness) –into physical danger, violence (Herod wanted to kill the baby Jesus, Matt 2:7–8)/ 2. Leadership: Errors & Sins of Leaders → Jealousy of follower’s accomplishments or abilities; fear of being displaced/ 3. Leading followers astray into sin, worldliness, etc. (Mt 2:16).

Something to Thank God For: The Devotion of the Wise Men/ God’s faithfulness in fulfilling His promises/ God’s attribute – (Omnipresence, Omnipotent, Omniscient).

People to Pray For: 1. Pray for all Christians to emulate the devotion of the Wise Men/ 2. Enemies of Jesus Christ: those who devise evil to God’s people to repent and be converted/ 3. Opposition to Jesus Christ: those who think they can frustrate God’s plan, purposes, etc. (cf. Ps. 2:4-6)

Issues to Pray For: Faith, the spirit of giving, God’s providence, guidance, persecution, violence, anger, comfort, grief, injustice, killing, suffering, Massacre of the Innocents, death and dying.

Today’s Promise: “But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice (for the Lord your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.” (Deuteronomy 4:29–31, NKJV)

Note: Scroll down to Section (40-BSG-2Z) for a Closing Prayer. May the Lord Bless You!

40-BSG-2C: INTRODUCTION.

The Book of Matthew 2/ Introduction/ 40-BSG-2C/ The King of the Jews Born in the City of David (2:1–12)

“The first point Matthew needs to establish in his “geographical apologetic” for the origins of the Messiah is that Jesus “of Nazareth” was in fact born where the Messiah must be born, in the Davidic town of Bethlehem. Central to this first infancy story therefore is the combined quotation of Mic 5:2 and 2 Sam 5:2 which identifies the Messiah’s birthplace specifically as Bethlehem in Judah, and the surrounding narrative explains how this was in fact the birthplace of Jesus, even though subsequent events (equally attested to both by scriptural quotation and by divine guidance in dreams) were to dictate his relocation to Nazareth in Galilee.

But there is more to being born in Bethlehem than a correct geographical origin. If Bethlehem is the town of David, a “son of David” born there is born to be “King of the Jews” (as the “book of origin” in 1:1–17 with its royal dynastic focus has already indicated). This title will not reappear in Matthew’s narrative until chapter 27, when it will sum up the political charge against Jesus. There, as here, it will be used only by non-Jews; Jews themselves will use the more theologically loaded equivalents “king of Israel,” “Messiah,” and “Son of David.” But whereas in the circumstances of ch. 27, with Jesus a prisoner on trial and going to execution, there is a sharp irony about the title “King of the Jews,” here in v. 2 it has no such connotation. It is the Gentile way of saying what a Jew would mean by “Messiah” (the term which Herod, who could hardly refer to someone else as “king of the Jews,” substitutes in v. 5).” — [R. T. France, The Gospel of Matthew, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publication Co., 2007), 61].

40-BSG-2D: TODAY’S CHAPTER

Matthew 2: Bible Reading Plan/ The Book of Matthew 2/ Theme: The Visit of the Magi (1–12); The Flight Into Egypt (13–15); The Massacre of the Innocents (16–18); The Return to Nazareth (19–23).

Matthew 2 (NKJV) — 1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 6But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” 9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way. 13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.” 14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, 15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.” 16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: 18A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted, Because they are no more.” 19 Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” 21 Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. 23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

40-BSG-2E: TEACHING OUTLINE.

Bible Study Guide/ Teaching Outline/ Matthew 2, (40-BSG-2E)/ Theme: The Visit of the Magi (1–12); The Flight Into Egypt (13–15); The Massacre of the Innocents (16–18); The Return to Nazareth (19–23).

An Overview: Matthew continues his narrative of Jesus’ birth by introducing the Wise Men from the East who secure two interviews with king Herod. Herod arrogantly thinks that He is the “only” legitimate king. But as the Book progresses, there is indeed a “new King” whose kingdom is not of this World, but the Heaven. Matthew fills this narrative with scriptural quotations from the OT prophecy  — (Mic 5:2; cf. Matt 2:6; Hos 11:1 cf. Mt 2:15; and Jer. 31:15 cf. Mt. 2:18) — asserting that Jesus Christ is indeed the anticipated Messiah, King of the Jews. Thus, he links the Jesus’ story to Israel’s Scriptures, the Old Testament.

Characters: God, Jesus, Joseph, Mary, Herod, Chief Priests, Scribes, Wise Men, Archelaus.

Key Text: “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” (Mt 2:2).

Key Word: The Star of Bethlehem, (Mt 2: 2, 9, 10)

Striking Verses: Matthew 2:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9, 10-11, 12, 13-15, 16, 17-18, 19-21, 22, 23.

Division of Main Points — Bethlehem: Herod versus the Magi (2:1–12)/ The Flight to Egypt (2:13–15)/ Ramah: Weeping for Dead Children (2:16–21)/ Nazareth: Coming Home to Obscurity (2:19–23).

Biblical Events – [Events Occurring]: Jesus’ life before ministry, (Mt 1:18–3:12); Wise men arrive in Jerusalem, (Mt 2:1–8); Wise men come to Bethlehem, (Mt 2:9–12); Flight to Egypt, (Mt 2:13–15); Jesus, Mary and Joseph flee to Egypt, (Mt 2:13–20); Herod kills Bethlehem’s children, (Mt 2:16–18); An angel appears to Joseph in Egypt, (Mt 2:19–20); Jesus returns from Egypt to Nazareth, (Mt 2:21–23); Jesus’ youth, (Mt 2:21–23).

Biblical Phrases – “Where is He who has been born?” (2:2); “gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (2:11); “Out of Egypt I called My Son” (2:15); “Arise, take the young Child and His mother” (2:13, 20); “He shall be called a Nazarene” (2:23).

Issues for Further Study – Angel of the Lord, Herod & Herodian Dynasty, Human Nature of Christ, Jesus’ Fulfillment of Old Testament Prophecy, Political Leaders in the New Testament, Jesus: the Nazarenes (Mt 2:23).

Striking Facts: [A] The Wise Men’s public meeting with King Herod (2:1–6)

  • Their request: “Where is the newborn King of the Jews?” (Mt 2:2)

  • Herod’s reaction: He is greatly troubled (Mt 2:3).

  • Herod’s Demands: He gathers all ‘Chief Priests and Scribes’ to tell him where the Messiah will be born (2:4).

  • The Chief Priests and Scribes disclose the place – “Bethlehem of Judea” (Mt 2:5).

  • Prophecy Fulfilled (Mt 2:6). This was the OT prediction through prophet Micah (Micah 5:2).

[B] The Wise Men’s private meeting with King Herod (2:7–8)

  • Herod’s Demand: He asks them when they first saw the star (Mt 2:7).

  • Herod’s Deception: He says, “When you find the child, tell me, so that I can worship him, too.” (Mt 2:8)

  • The Witness of the Star: It leads the Wise Men to the very house where Jesus is living, (Mt 2:9).

  • Their Joy: ”When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy, (Mt 2:10).

  • Their Worship: They present Him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Mt 2:11-11).

  • The Warning: They are told to bypass Herod en route to their home (Mt 2:12).

[C] Joseph takes Mary and the young Jesus to Egypt.

  • The Reasons for the trip – To flee the wrath of Herod: Joseph is warned by God in a dream that Herod will try to kill Jesus, (2:13–14)/ 2. To fulfill the words of Hosea (Hos. 11:1). This Old Testament prophet foretold the trip to Egypt (Mt 2:15).
  • The Retaliation during the trip – Herod kills all the male babies in Bethlehem in an attempt to eliminate Jesus (Mt 2:16)/ 2. Fulfilment of Jeremiah’s prophecy (Jer. 31:15). Long before it happened, Jeremiah predicted the Bethlehem massacre (Mt 2:17–18).
  • The Return from the trip: Joseph receives two more dreams – In the First Dream, Joseph is told that Herod is now dead and that he should depart from Egypt with his family, (Mt 2:19–21)/ In the Second Dream, Joseph is told that he should dwell in Nazareth, (Mt 2:22–23).

Key Thought: Jesus was the beginner of a new Era, a New Testament. He was the founder of a new kingdom: the Kingdom of Divine Grace, followed by the Kingdom of Glory (when He appears, a Second Time). Jesus Christ was hailed as the King at His birth and at His dying (on His cross) – we will develop these themes as we journey through the Book. But for the purpose of this Lesson, it was the Magi (Wise Men) who broke the tidings of this new-born King to a pagan Herod. The Scriptures says — “And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11, ESV)

Beloved, God’s Word is sure – those who diligently seek the LORD shall find Him (Isa 55:5; Jer. 29:12-14; Mt 7:7-8). Even today, wise men and women who desire to seek Christ will always find Him. Solomon said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”— (Pr. 15:33). The wise men were anxious to see Christ. Because Christ was King, they didn’t come empty handed; the brought precious gifts, at the time. What about you and me today? What have we brought to Jesus?  Are we anxious to be with Him? To adore and worship Him? To obey and render selfless service Him? Remember: “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” (Mt 9:37). What kind of fruits/ gifts do you bring to Him today?

Admonitions: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1–2, NKJV) “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,” (Ephesians 5:18–19, NKJV) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22–23, NKJV)

Warm Up Questions:

  1. What is the main content of this chapter?

  2. What does the chapter say about God?

  3. Who was King Herod? How many ‘Herods’ do you know from the Bible? (2:1)

  4. Who were the Magi? And why are they called ‘Wise Men?’ (2:1)

  5. I thought the Bible forbids the practice astrology. Why did God bless the Magi? (2:2)

  6. Can we obtain guidance from the stars today? (2:2)

  7. Why would the Chief Priests and Scribes’ disclose the location of Messiah’s birth to Herod? (2:4).

  8. I though God is powerful than the earthly king Herod? Why sending the Babe to Egypt? Was He afraid of Herod? (2:13)

  9. What did it mean to be called a Nazarene? (2:23)

  10. What do you think is the main point God is making by including this chapter in the Bible?

  11. What response do you think this chapter should inspires us to do?

 

40-BSG-2K: DISCUSSION QUESTIONS.

Bible Study Guide/ Matthew 2, (40-BSG-2K)/ Discussion Questions

To Think About And Discuss[1] “There came wise men from the East” —a. Who were they? b. How many were there? c. Where did they come?

[2] “For we have seen His star!” The star being the only symbol of Christ’s birth was very critical to the wisemen. Five questions may be asked about this star — Of what nature it was?/ When was it first seen?/ Where? How did the Magi know by it that Christ was born? Why were they taught by it rather than by any other means?

For Further Study[3] Can you identify Old Testament quotes for each chapter in the Book of Matthew? Why does Matthew quote so often from the Old Testament? How can the Old Testament help us better understand who Jesus is and why Jesus came?

[4] “Despite their pagan background and powerful influence in the Babylonian or Persian courts, the Magi recognize and worship the Christ child for who he is. Despite his role as legally installed ruler of Israel and his professed conversion to Judaism, Herod rejects the newborn king and plots to destroy him. He fears that this young boy will threaten his royal position and authority.” — [Craig Blomberg, Matthew, The New American Commentary, (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 22:61]. In what ways we can accept/ reject Christ today? What are the consequences for each course?

[5] The Star which served as the GPS so to speak, plays such a prominent role in this chapter: The Magi’s quest to a newborn King of the Jews! Balaam’s prophecy in Num 24:17–19 had something to say about the rise of a “star out of Jacob and a scepter out of Israel.” Expand on this OT prophecy and Discuss further.

[6] To a Jewish reader, the story of Herod’s fear for his throne and his ruthless political massacre of children “from two years old and under” (Mt 2:16) is reminiscent of Pharaoh’s massacre at the time of Moses’ birth (Ex. 1:22; 2:1-10). Similarly, Jesus’ providential escape to Egypt and subsequent return echoes the story of Moses’ escape from slaughter and of his subsequent exile and return when “those who were seeking your life are dead” (Mt 2:20; cf. Exod 4:19). Had Pharaoh been successful, he could have well threatened to destroy Israel’s future deliverer: The Messiah! But in both cases God intervened! Nothing can thwart God’s plans and purposes! How can this fact help you to want to know God’s will in your life and learn to trust Him to see that will/ plan into fruition?

For Self-Examination[7]Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2, ESV) Where can we find Jesus today? How can we find Him? When can we find Him? What do we do when we find Him?

For Life Today[8] And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him.” (Mt. 2:11a). “Beneath the lowly guise of Jesus, they recognized the presence of Divinity. They gave their hearts to Him as their Saviour, and then poured out their gifts, — “gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” What a faith was theirs! It might have been said of the wise men from the East, as afterward of the Roman centurion, “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” Matthew 8:10” – (Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, 3:63–64).  How many times have you fallen down on your knees in humility when praying to/ worshiping Christ? What kinds of gifts have you brought to Christ?

[9] The Flight into Egypt: What guidelines for obedience can you draw from Joseph’s example in Matt 2:13-14, 19-23. What guidelines for depending on God can you draw from this chapter?

[10] “When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:10–11, ESV) What helpful insights do you find in these verses regarding the right way to approach God in worship?

For Going Deeper[11] God willed to instruct the wisemen in accordance with their own knowledge: that they who had passed their lives in the observation of the stars might learn Christ from the stars. Through nature, God is able to teach us, speak to us, and provide for us. How does nature reveal God? How can we can both seek and find God in His creation?

[12] Consider again the major truth expressed in the Star! In Mt 2:2, He used a “star” to direct, disclose the place of Birth to the magi. How does God reveal Himself through Nature? How does Ps. 19:1-2 and Job 12:7-10; 104:24-25; Rom 1:20; Jer. 32:17; Job 38:4-6 expand your understanding of this truth?

For Personal Implications[13] How could you use this chapter to illustrate to a new Christian the concept of God’s protection for His people?

[14] The devotion of the wise men – They fell down, and worshipped Him (Matt. 2:11); They shared their wealth with Jesus— gold, frankincense, and myrrh (v. 11); Their interest was in “giving” instead of receiving; The prospect of worship gave them “joy,” (v. 10);  They showed more respect to Christ than to Herod’s command to return and report to him, (v. 8, 12). How can we emulate these attributes?

40-BSG-2Y: NIGHT DEVOTION.

A Devotional Thought corresponding with the Today’s Bible Reading Plan/ Theme: Herod vs. the Magi.

Key Text: “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” (Matthew 2:1–3, NKJV)

Thought # 1: Where is He? Beloved, each one of us need to ask these questions – Where is Jesus Christ today? Where is He in my life? Where can I find Him? of course, He is in the Heavenly Sanctuary (Heb. 8:1-2) interceding for us, attending to our needs, etc. But He is not aloof, in fact, He is a Friend who is ever near.. who is acquainted with our sorrows, grief, trials, temptations, etc. (Isa 53:3; Mt 26:37-38; Jn 11:35; Heb 2:17-18; 4:15; 5:7). He is standing ready to help whenever we call (Heb 4:14-16); most importantly, He wants to dwell in/ abide with us (Ps. 91:1-2; Rev 3:20)

Christ has already come into the World (Mt 17:2) but most are not aware of it. The Scripture says — “He came into the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him [did not know Him].” (John 1:10, AMP) Why? Because of pride, unbelief, and worldliness. Because they are preoccupied with self and worldly affairs, with ambition and material possessions. I think it is worth reminding us again, that — “the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever.” (1 John 2:17, AMP) I can add, but he who finds Jesus, and obey His commandments shall abide forever!

Thought # 2: Have you seen His Star? The wisemen did! “For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” (2:2). “That star was a distant company of shining angels, but of this the wise men were ignorant. Yet they were impressed that the star was of special import to them. They consulted priests and philosophers, and searched the scrolls of the ancient records. The prophecy of Balaam had declared, “There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel.” Numbers 24:17. Could this strange star have been sent as a harbinger of the Promised One? The magi had welcomed the light of heaven-sent truth; now it was shed upon them in brighter rays. Through dreams they were instructed to go in search of the newborn Prince.” — [Ellen Gould White, The Desire of Ages, Conflict of the Ages Series, (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1898), 3:60].

“The wise men were led to interpret this unusual phenomenon as the fulfillment of Balaam’s prophecy of “a Star out of Jacob” (Num. 24:17)” – (SDA BC 5:289). Have you seen His Star? Beloved, when we see His star we are filled with Joy (Mt 2:10); When we see His star we worship Him (Mt 2:11); When we see His star we offer Him our gifts (Mt 2:11); When we see His star we return Another Way (Mt 2:12), that is “genuine repentance.” Have you done so?

Thought # 3: Worshipping Jesus Christ! Herod didn’t want to worship Jesus—he wanted to kill Him. Why? Because he feared that Christ might take over his kingdom. There are many today who still refuse to recognize Christ as the Son of God, King of kings, and render Him service, worship for who He is. Are you among those? Beloved, don’t be like Herod! “Jesus Christ” is the subject all humanity must consider seriously. Rejecting Christ means eternal loss: the second death (Rev 21:8; Rom 6:23); accepting Christ means eternal life (Jn 3:16; 10:28).

You ask— What kinds of Gifts must we give/ bring to Christ today? [a] Living sacrifices to God (Rom. 12:1–2); [b] Seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33); [c] Substance: our time, talent, tithes/ offering; [d] Service: working for and serving Him (Mk 16:15; Jn 15:16).

Have A Good Night: “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.” (John 9:4, NKJV) “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” (Matthew 9:36–37, NKJV)

40-BSG-2Z: CLOSING PRAYER.

Closing Prayer/ Matthew 2, (40-BSG-2Z)/ Is there a prayer for me to pray/echo in this chapter?  Yes.

Prayer: Father, we thank You for Your word in Matthew chapter 2. We thank You for the gift of life, for another day to hear the Gospel and make necessary changes in our lives.

We thank You for the precious promise in this chapter, that one day out of Judah shall come “a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel” (Mic 5:2). That prophecy was fulfilled right on time (Mt 2:6). That Ruler was Christ Jesus, who was born among men, and yet a Ruler, a King, and our High Priest, who will soon come again — not in humiliation, but in majesty and great glory (Mt 24:30). Help us therefore to “trim our lamps” (Mt 25:7); and get ready for this momentous event (Is 40:10; Rev 1:7; 22:12).

We thank You for the devotion of the Wise Men. They traveled a long distance to see Christ. They were so anxious, so committed to see Him that their ambitions, desires, and plans were set aside. Their number one priority was to see and worship Jesus!

Father, many of us are busy with the cares of this world such that we don’t have time for Jesus. We have gone astray; we have abandoned our first love to You (Rev 2:5). We hardly have time devoted to Prayer, Bible Study, Witnessing, and rendering ‘acceptable service” to You. On this day, may Thy Spirit help us to rediscover the precious gift the Heaven has given to this word –Jesus!

Help us on this day to wake up from slumber: To watch and pray; To tell other about Your soon coming; To work for the Master — doing the works of Him who sent us while it is day. “For the Night is coming when no one can work” (Jn 9:4); But above all – To present our bodies “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is our reasonable service” (Rom 12:1).

Therefore, loving Father, prepare our minds for action — To set our minds on things above, not on things on the earth (Col 3:2); To be sober-minded and “set our hope fully on the grace that will be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:13)

May Thy Spirit teach us to obey Your will, Commands, and Instructions. Forgive us our sins (and those included in this chapter). May You sanctify us, and prepare us for Thy kingdom. We thank You LORD, and ask these things, believing and trusting in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.