Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Infancy of Messiah

From the readings and questions this week:
Psalm 91
1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you make the Most High your dwelling—
even the LORD, who is my refuge—
10 then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation."

The antagonism shown to Jesus in Matthew 2 was repeated throughout His life, but God kept Him safe through all this persecution until the time came for Him to bear the punishment for all of us sinners. This same persecution was promised by Jesus Christ to all who follow Him, but He made sure we would know that He would bless us and keep us (eternally) safe with Him.

1. Matthew 2:1-8: Jerusalem
The majority of people who heard of Jesus' birth were vaguely disturbed. Herod had a hatred for Jesus. The Scribes and Priests knew the Word and used it for power and control, but at this stage ignored Jesus. Only the Magi, who had the least knowledge, joyfully followed the star.
: Knowledge of Jesus demands a response.
Q What is mine? To follow the star (metaphorically speaking) by reading God's Word in the Bible and seeking to know Jesus better.
Q Do I believe other biblical prophecies of Jesus' imminent return? How do I live in light of this?
Yes - At the heart of it this is why I am supporting Jeff in his studies to be a minister in a church and bringing up our children to know God through His Son and His written Word, so that we might share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others and see them grow as disciples of Jesus.

2. Matthew 2:9-12 Bethlehem
There are records from historical Chinese documents of a comet observed in 5BC. [Comparison from The Annals of the World calculates Jesus born in 5BC.]
Gold signifies the riches of a king. Incence was used in temple worship and signifies Jesus' deity and/or priesthood. Myrhh was used in embalming the dead and signifies suffering.
: Discovering Jesus Christ in worship brings joy to us.
Q Who or what do I worship? In what way?
Well I'd have to say God, whom I worship with both word (eg prayer and song) and deed (obedience, right action) but I'm pretty sure that there are other things that I worship as well, such as knowledge, which I seek after intently (which could be a form of idolatry if I seek that in the place of my relationship with God).
Q Does this bring joy to my life?
Well, definitely a sense of purpose and fulfilment. A sense of satisfaction and rightness.

3. Matthew 2:13-18: Egypt
Egypt was a place of bondage for the Israelites, not a place where they could be free.
Herod exemplifies enmity to Jesus.
Jesus was delivered from the hand of his enemy by God's warning and Joseph's obedience.
: God protects and cares for His own.
> We can protect others - especially our own children - by telling them the good news of Jesus Christ.
> God looks out for us in every situation.

4. Matthew 2:19-23 Nazareth
From Josephus, King Herod died in 4BC.
Nazareth in Galilee was Joseph's hometown.
:God gives grace to the humble.

Q Do I worship God in my heart?
Q Do I experience Him protecting me?
Today we want to hear God's voice (just as the Magi saw His star) and worship Him, to bring glory to him through our lives.

No comments: