Grow Through The Gospels: Matthew 2

Pastor Ed Young - Lead Pastor of Fellowship Church
Ed Young

June 4, 2024

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Grow Through The Gospels: Matthew 2

Read: Matthew 2

Matthew 2:1-2 “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’”

Think

Herod the Great—now there's a character from history who stirs up mixed feelings. Appointed king by the Romans, he wasn't even a true descendant of Jacob, being an Edomite. Despite his shaky claim to the throne, he managed to win over some of the Jewish populace, not through his charm but through his grand building projects. He transformed Jerusalem with stunning architecture—a new amphitheater, marketplaces, walls, a beautiful harbor, and he even took on the massive task of rebuilding the temple. Yet, beneath the surface of these grand constructions was a man driven by paranoia, so much so that he murdered three of his own sons and a wife to protect his throne.

Amidst this backdrop of fear and admiration, a story unfolds that brings a different kind of leadership into focus—the quiet arrival of a newborn king, prophesied by ancient scriptures. Wise men from the East, learned in these prophecies and guided by a star mentioned in Numbers 24:17, arrived in Jerusalem. Their mission was clear: find the Messiah promised to lead and renew. They first stopped at Herod's palace, the logical place to look for a newborn king. But they found a court full of scribes and priests who, despite knowing the prophecies of a Messiah born in Bethlehem as told in Micah 5:2, showed no interest in seeking him. Their complacency raises a tricky question: why ignore the arrival of the very Messiah they'd been teaching about?

The answer might lie in the comfort of their current positions. The status quo was safe and beneficial for the religious elite under Herod. A new king, especially one from humble beginnings rather than royal fanfare, threatened their grip on power. Their reluctance was a stark contrast to the enthusiasm of the wise men, who, upon realizing Herod's ignorance and duplicity, slipped out of the city to continue their quest. Their joy was complete when they finally found Jesus, not in a palace but in a humble home. They bowed in worship, their hearts recognizing the true king before them, and at that moment, their lives were transformed.

This chapter of Matthew compels us to confront a question about our own spiritual journeys: are we clinging to the comfort of our current lives, resistant to the truths that might unsettle us? Or are we willing to be like the wise men, embarking on a journey guided by faith, driven by a divine promise, ready to forsake all for the sake of discovering true kingship in Jesus? The wise men's story is not just about a physical journey but a profound transformation—a willing abandonment of the old for a life-altering encounter with the Messiah. Let's not be bystanders in our faith, comfortable in the shallow end. Instead, let's dive deep, seek earnestly, and be ready to have our worlds turned upside down by the powerful and often challenging truth of Jesus Christ.

Apply

Where are you playing it safe in your Christian walk? Are you hiding your faith at work, the gym, or around your family? Do people know you are a Christ follower? Have you told someone lately about Jesus and what he did for you?

Pray

God, give me wisdom and boldness that can only come from you. Stir in me a fire to tell others the good news of the gospel. Inspire me to leave behind my own Herods—those parts of my life that rule over me with fear and control. Forgive me of my complacency and awaken the boldness of your calling. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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