Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Oct 2, Mt 2

Today's reading is Mt 2. Tomorrow's are Mt 3, Mk 1 and Lk 3.

The Magi come to visit, following a star. It's not exactly what we hear in the Christmas carol. They are not kings. They are, most likely, astrologers. It is not the night Christ is born, but about two years after (see below). They are carrying precious gifts and are, quite likely, not alone but in a large caravan for safety. As another indication of how things will eventually progress, we see the wise men, Persians (Gentiles) seeking God while Herod and the people in Jerusalem are reacting in fear and rejection, ultimately trying to kill Jesus.

Upon their arrival, the Magi meet Herod. The city is in an uproar motivating the king to make inquiries as to the birthplace of the child they've some to see. His people tell him the baby should be in Bethlehem, according to Scripture. Matthew is careful to mention Bethlehem as being another fulfillment of prophecy (Mic 5:2).

Herod, fearing this child would be a threat to his throne, orders the execution of all the male children 2 years and under, according to when the wise men saw the star. This is how we know they have arrived 2 years after the birth of Jesus. The wise men saw the star. For whatever the reason, they arrive in Jerusalem 2 years later.

Prior to the order to execute the children being carried out, an angel tells Joseph to take Mary and Jesus and flee to Egypt, another prophecy fulfilled (Hos 11:1). Joseph can do this and survive easily on the riches the wise men have brought him. God provides!

Tragically, due to the pride and fear of one evil man, the children of Bethlehem die fulfilling another prophecy (Jer 31:15).

Herod eventually dies. Joseph returns and settles in Nazareth, a city in the district of Galilee, another prophecy fulfilled. (Is 9:1)

The baby is small and helpless, totally dependent upon those around Him. Even as prophecy is being fulfilled in the events surrounding His birth, God ensures that all the other prophecies will come to pass by preserving and protecting the baby.

Consider the incredible chain of events throughout Israel's history, all of which lead up to this moment. Consider the way the events of those first two years of Jesus' life had to synchronize in order for the prophecies to be fulfilled and for the baby to survive. We see wise men traveling for months at a time to see the baby, kings trying to kill the baby, the earthly father acting to protect his infant son, God's provision to enable that protection and more. God sovereignly aligns all of human history to bring His plan of redemption to fruition in amazing accuracy and detail. 

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