Matthew 2 – Pack your Bags

Visit from the Wise Men

After Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, the wise men from the east visited Jesus. These men were believed to be learned scholars of those times. They noticed an unusual star and recognized its significance with the Messiah.

God uses different ways to reveal His plans to people. The shepherds were visited by angels and received the Good news of the birth of Christ and for these wise men, God chose to reveal the same plan through a star.

These men showed pure zeal to seek this new King and their passion brought them to Bethlehem to witness this unusual event. However, unlike these wise men, king Herod and all of Jerusalem did not receive this news quite so well and were disturbed.

Similarly, there could be so many incidents in our lives where we fail to understand God’s plan and start acting according to our own wishes. We fail to realize that He is the one in control of everything and that His plans are always better than our plans.

Herod came to know of Jesus’ birth, the birth of the king of the Jews. He called together the chief priests and the teachers of the law and found out that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem as written by the prophets.

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Matthew 2:6

Herod then called the wise men secretly to find out the exact time when the star appeared and also wanted them to report back to him after finding the baby king. Herod deceitfully told the wise men that he too would like to go and worship the Messiah.

Throughout the journey of the wise men, the star guided them. God guided the Israelites in the form of a pillar of cloud and fire when they were heading towards the promise land (Exodus 13:21). In a similar manner, God guides us also in different ways and it is for us to recognize that guidance and follow Him.

After the wise men saw Jesus, they worshiped Him and gave Him the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. They returned to their country through another route as they were warned not to go back to Herod in a dream.

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the wise men, he became furious and ordered every boy under the age of two years in Bethlehem and its vicinity to be killed and lo, the prophecy by Jeremiah was fulfilled.

“A voice is heard in Ramah,
    weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
    and refusing to be comforted,
    because they are no more.”

Matthew 2:18

Escape to Egypt & Return to Nazareth

Soon after the wise men left, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and asked him to take the child and His mother and escape to Egypt and wait there until further told. Joseph, being obedient, left for Egypt that night itself. After the death of Herod, the angel of the Lord appeared to Herod in a dream and told him to take his family and go to Israel and Joseph did so.

When Joseph heard that now Herod’s son, Archelaus was reigning, he was afraid to go there and was warned in a dream to go to the district of Galilee. Joseph went and lived in the town of Nazareth and another prophecy was fulfilled.

… So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.

Matthew 2:23

Even the Pharisees assumed Jesus was from Nazareth and rejected the idea of Him being the messiah as they had read in the scriptures that the Messiah would come from the city of David. Everyone failed to recognize the Messiah, be it the Pharisees, the teachers of the law or the people living in that land. This follows today also, few are still waiting for the Messiah and few, in spite of knowing about the Messiah still fail to recognize Him as their personal Savior.

Unless we seek the guidance of God we will not be able to recognize His voice and follow His commands. It is up to us to seek his guidance or not, God is always ready and willing to guide us.

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