Matthew 2:1-23 – The Young Messiah of Promise
A group of wise men, most likely stargazers who read the stars to predict weather patterns, seasons, and more for kings and rulers, come from east of Judea to learn more about this new start that appeared and the king born under that star. They come to Herod telling him about the star and the king. Herod is troubled and fears for his own rule and that of his children. He seeks the council of the teachers of the law, that that would know the Hebrew scriptures. They tell him about the Messiah who was to be born in Bethlehem according to prophecy (Micah 5:2). Herod sends the wise men on to Bethlehem asking them to return and give him directions so that he might also pay homage to this king.
These stargazing wise men find Mary and Jesus in a house (not a manger, by now they had moved out of the manger into a rented house). They worship Jesus and present gifts to him as tribute. A dream warns them against returning to Judea and Herod, so they return to their home a different way.
In the mean time, an angel tells Joseph to take his young family to Egypt to flee the power, wrath, and jealousy of Herod. This also would fulfill prophecy that God would call His son out of Egypt. (Hosea 11:1).
The narrative returns to Judea and we find Herod angry that these wise men did not return. We then discover Herod’s true purpose was not to worship the child, but to destroy him. Herod sends his soldiers to Bethlehem having them kill all male children two years old and younger. This fulfills a prophecy concerning mothers weeping for their deceased children (Jeremiah 31:15).
After the death of Herod, Joseph and his family return from Egypt. They settle in Nazareth of Galilee instead of Judea for fear of Archelaus the son of Herod. Again this fulfills prophecy that the Messiah would be called a Nazarene. The name Nazareth (or Nazarene) means a branch as in the Branch of David. (Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5; Zechariah 6:12).
Matthew clearly demonstrates to his Hebrew readers that this child, Jesus, is the Savior of His people. Their own prophets confirm Jesus’ claim to the title of the Messiah (the Christ, the Anointed of God).
Seeing these prophecies fulfilled, they have a choice. Their choice is the same choice you and I have: What will we do about this child? He is the promised Christ. Will you choose to follow Him?