Matthew Lesson 2 Day 3
Where is the one who was born to be the king of the Jews?
“The Magi—”Originally a religious caste among the Persians; devoted to astrology, divination, and interpretation of dreams. Later the word came to be applied generally to fortune-tellers and exponents of esoteric religious cults throughout the Mediterranean world (Acts 8:9; 13:6,8) Nothing is known of the Magi of the Nativity story; they may have come from S Arabia. (NIV Nave’s Topical Bible, John R. Koylenberger III, General Editor, Zondervan copyright 1992)
6) We have come to worship him.
So interesting that the chief priests missed out on the birth, life, and resurrection of their long-awaited Messiah. They only participated in his death. Star-gazing mystics saw a sign sent by God and traveled many miles with costly gifts to worship the Christ child.
“We saw his star rising and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2 NOG8)
There are many different suggestions for the natural origin of this remarkable star. Some say it was a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn; some, other planetary conjunctions; others suggest a supernova; and some think of comets or a specifically created unique star or sign.1
Earth’s clock in the expanse
The heavenly view that surrounds the earth contains a celestial clock. “The heavens declare the glory of El, and the sky displays what his hands have made.” (Psalm 19:1 NOG) In Hebrew, the expanse (see Genesis 1:6 through Genesis 1:8).
It seems likely to me that man’s understanding about the heavenly clock originated between God and Adam. He had 930 years to share all that he knew about creation.
I took three of my grandsons to the planetarium one December. Scientists know exactly how the sky appeared in the middle east region during the year of Jesus’ birth. The presentation showed a variety of possible stars the wise men could have seen. I wish I could have taken notes.
. . . around the world and throughout history, we find remarkably similar constellations defined by disparate cultures, as well as strikingly similar narratives describing the relationships between them. (Source)
“Virgo is prominent in the spring sky in the northern hemisphere, visible all night in March and April.” (Source) “Virgo” means “maiden/virgin”. It’s the only constellation said to depict a female.
Pagans and the constellations
Pagans throughout the ages came up with their own stories and belief systems around what they saw (and some still persist), but the One who created the heavenly clock remains unchangeable.
There was a general expectation of a messiah or great man from Judea. Not very long after Jesus was born, the Roman historian Seutonius wrote: “There had spread over all the Orient an old and established belief, that it was fated at that time for men coming from Judea to rule the world.” Tacitus, another Roman historian of the general period, wrote: “There was a firm persuasion…that at this very time the East was to grow powerful, and rulers coming from Judea were to acquire universal empire.” (Cited in Barclay)1
Whatever they saw, the Magi observed the sign and understood what it meant. They were drawn to search for the baby in order to worship him. They traveled some distance and upon arrival in Jerusalem, they caused quite a stir with their inquiries. As they continued to seek, the star began to move again. They followed it until it stopped. “They were overjoyed.” When they found him, they fell down and worshiped him. Then they gave him the gifts they had brought.
7a) Wise men still seek Him.
God speaks to those who are watching, listening, and open to revelation. These ancient wise men weren’t even grounded in the Bible. Something to think about.
b) A. W. Tozer
Is it not true that for for most of us who call ourselves Christians there is no real experience? We have substituted theological ideas for an arresting encounter, we are full of religious notions, but our great weakness is that for our hearts there is no one there. whatever else it embraces, true Christian experience must always include a genuine encounter with God. Without this, religion is but a shadow, a reflection of reality, a cheap copy of an original once enjoyed by someone else of whom we have heard. ~A. W. Tozer
I press in to engage with the divine nature of my Creator.
8) An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream.
The angel warned Joseph that Herod would look for baby Yeshua in order to destroy him. He said, “Arise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you.
Joseph obeyed, fulfilling Hosea 11:1 “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.”
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1 EnduringWord.com used by written permission.
2 AWM Living Commentary used by written permission.
3 Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations from *The ESV Bible® (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®) copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
4 Strong’s Concordance, public domain.
5 *Spirit Filled Life Bible®copyright © 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. (The Holy Bible, New King James Bible) copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
6 Ellicott’s Commentary, public domain.
7 Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, public domain.
8 The Names of God Bible (without notes) © 2011 by Baker Publishing Group.
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My answers, research, and notes for BSF Bible Study Fellowship questions Matthew Lesson 2 Day 3