INTRODUCTION – Read Matt. 2:13-23
I. A word about Angels A. One of their ministries to us is to help us in our decision making when there are things endangering us that we are oblivious to and there is no way we could know what is coming down the road or around the corner. Four times in the first two chapters Joseph receives direction through dreams via angels. 1:20 “behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream;” 2:13 “behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream…”; 2:19 “behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph..” 2:22 “and being warned in a dream..”
Now these four messages occurred over a couple of years, so do not hear me saying you should be receiving messages from angels on a daily basis. But I do believe the more you and I are engaged in the ministry of the gospel, the more we will experience the ministry of angels.
There is nothing in the scriptures that suggests that they are omniscient. But God shares His omniscience with them.
B. They live to obey God, not to sit around and have a coke with man. “Bless the Lord, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word!” Psalm 103:20. Often their instructions are concise and to the point. What we deem sufficient details and what they deem sufficient details are two different things. 2:13, 2:20, 2:22, Angels do not appear to be long winded except when they are worshipping the Lord Jesus Christ.
II. A Word about Joseph & Mary A. Joseph – this passage is the last mention of Joseph in the gospel of Matthew; no mention of him in gospel of Mark; last mention in Luke is in chapter 2 where the shepherds come and see the newborn baby Jesus. And there is no mention of him in the gospel of John. Lesson: It’s all about Jesus; not about us. The more we are in the background and He is exalted – the more we experience His kingdom and are used to expand His kingdom on earth.
B. Mary – Please note the order in vs. 13,14 “child and his mother.” Important in the greek language. “Let it Be” song. “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be.” My gift from Mary R. – Augustine’s book
Let’s be careful that we not put mother Mary in a place the scriptures are careful not to put her. She was a righteous woman and a woman of faith, but there were a number of them in the scriptures whom God used mightily as well. When Luke introduces us to Elizabeth – the mother of John the Baptist in Luke ch. 1 he says Elizabeth was “righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.” Thank God for Mary. Thank God for Elizabeth, and Mary and Martha – Lazarus’s sisters, and for the apostle John and Paul. But let’s reserve our worship for the One they all lived to worship and serve – the Lord Jesus Christ.
III. A Word about Fulfilled Prophecy & the Word of God & “scholars” At the end of each of the three paragraphs in our text today, you might have noted that Matthew says things like: vs. 15 “This was to fulfill… Vs. 17 “Then was fulfilled what was spoken… vs. 23 “..that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled….”
Critics of the scriptures (there have always been some and there always will be – ex. of discovery of gospel of Judas – USA today) have attacked Matthew’s gospel because these three fulfilled prophecies appear to be faulty or ill taken.
A. 2:15 & Hosea 11:1 “When Israel was a youth I loved him, And out of Egypt I called my son.” Seems to be talking about the nation or people of Israel. Dr. Louis Barbierri p. 22,23
B. 2:17,18 & Jer. 31:15 – vs. 18 is a complete quotation of Jer. 31:15 The problem some scholars say is this passage in Jeremiah is clearly referring to the death of Hebrew children at the time of the Babylonian Captivity (586 B.C.). The reference to Rachel weeping has to do with the fact that her tomb was near Bethlehem and Rachel was considered by many to be the mother of the nation.
The Israelites and perhaps Hebrew culture in general were big on typology. Type = “a person, thing or event that foreshadows another to come.” Webster’s Matthew knew that when he wrote his gospel primarily for a Jewish audience
C. 2:23 Problem: the words “He shall be called a Nazarene” are not directly spoken by any old Testament prophet. But note in this reference to fulfillment of prophecy, Matthew states “..what was spoken by the prophets.” Again allow me to quote Dr. Louis Barbierri’s commentary – p. 23
D. What Scholars should we listen to regarding theological issues? 1. Sufficient academic training – detailed study of every book of the Bible; church history; Hebrew and greek; knowledge of textual criticism;
2. Personal and experiential knowledge of God – I Cor. 2:12-14
3. Fruit of the Spirit (you know a tree by its fruit) Gal. 5:22 & other
4. Their family – is he known to be committed to his wife and children? Are they happy and secure? Do his children love the Lord?
5. Fear of the Lord – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Prov. 9:10
Ultimately, the Bible is a supernatural book. This is why King David, who probably loved God’s word as much or more than any man that has ever lived – constantly cried out for revelation – for God to open his eyes – so that he can see what he needs to see.
IV. The Contrast Between the Magi and King Herod I find it interesting that in the first half of this chapter as Matthew introduces the Messiah to his intended Jewish audience, he highlights this amazing passionate effort to worship the King of the Jews by these gentile Magi; and in the latter half he highlights the intense passionate hatred of King Herod towards this same King. Herod is a reminder to us of the world’s ability and propensity to hate with passion the Prince of Peace. Jesus, when He was preparing His disciples to take over the earthly running of His kingdom – said to them, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.” I’m ever more hopeful for a great harvest on the earth before our Lord returns. But I must remind you that hatred toward our Savior by viscious evil men and women will increase – – and the enemy will try to use it to intimidate us
By the way some so called scholars make much of the fact that there are no historical references to this slaughter of the young boys in Bethlehem other than the gospel of
Matthew. Barclay on Herod. P. 37
V. A word about Families – Prescription for a Fruitful & Effective Family
1. A father who hears God’s voice (however it comes) and obeys it. Saturdays and Sundays sleeping in – should get up early enough to hear His voice before family life kicks in
2. A wife who by faith follows his lead. Mary didn’t receive any of those dreams, but she followed
3. A couple who take seriously the seriousness of the war we are in for our children. Satan doesn’t wait until our children are teenagers to try to destroy them. He is the “destroyer”. And he will use evil people to do it.
4. A couple who trust God for His creative provision. The magi’s gifts. Luke’s account of their prescribed presentation of their son in the temple informs us that this couple were poor based on the animal sacrifice they were able to make (doves).
5. A couple who realizes – it is not about them. Joseph and Mary realized – they were given a very special boy to raise and steward. I believe the longer they lived, the more Jesus Christ increased and they decreased.
CONCLUSION – I believe the Lord told me this week I am to preach on Easter and the power of God Easter morning. I trust you will pray for me as I seek Him for the message to go along with that topic; and that you will be sensitive to whom you might invite to come with you next Sunday.