What grabs your attention when you read Matthew chapter 2?
- Is it the mystery of the Magi and whether or not they were descendant’s of Daniel’s magicians?
- Is it the patterns of “three” seen throughout the first 2 chapters?
- Is it the puzzle over the scriptures where: 1) they had a house in Bethlehem, escaped to Egypt when Jesus was about two-three years old, and then settled in Nazareth according to Matthew 2:11-23? Or is it 2) they settled directly in Nazareth just a few weeks after His birth according to Luke 2:21-39?
While each of these points are pretty interesting, I enjoyed searching out two other things. One of them turned into a very emotional, “God is near” experience for me:
1. The parallels between Jesus and the nation of Israel.
- Pharaoh ordered the slaughter of baby boys in Exodus1, King Herod orders the slaughter of baby boys in Matthew 2
- In Genesis, Joseph’s dreams led Israel to Egypt. In Matthew, Joseph’s dreams led Jesus to Egypt.
- The infant Moses and Christ both found refuge from slaughter in the midst of Egypt.
- After coming out of Egypt, the nation of Israel went through a “baptism” in the Red Sea (1 Cor. 10:2). After coming out of Egypt in Matthew chapter 2, Jesus is baptized in Matthew Chapter 3.
- Israel spent 40 years in the Wilderness, Jesus spent 40 days in the Wilderness
What is this saying to me? Jesus identified and became the embodiment and fulfillment of Israel. He was the faithful Son who fulfilled what the Nation could not. He is the answer to all their problems with keeping the Law. Glory!
2. What would it be like for Jesus to read this portion of Matthew?
I also was very emotionally impacted by Matthew Chapter 2. It started when I began to wonder what it would be like for Jesus to read the book of Matthew.
Although Jesus was the Son of God, keep in mind that He was also a very human being. At times, He could be very sensitive. If Jesus were reading the 2nd Chapter of Matthew, how would it affect Him on a human level? Put yourself in His shoes for just one moment and imagine if you were reading a book about your life. Now ask yourself this question, “Is there something in this chapter that could affect Him emotionally?
Jesus was a highly relational person. I have no doubt about that. Jesus knew the pain of losing a parent. If Jesus were reading the Book of Matthew, I think He would be keenly aware that Chapter 2 would contain the last actions that would ever be told about the man who humbled himself at great cost and took Him in as His own child and raised Him. These were actions of sheer obedience, self-sacrifice, protection, and love. These actions are the last things that He would ever read about Joseph in the book of Matthew.
Nature vs. Nurture. By nature, Jesus was the Son of God. But by nurture, he was the Carpenter’s son. Joseph was His earthly mentor. Did Jesus acquire any mannerisms or pick up any of Joseph’s traits? I wonder.
The Bible declares Joseph to be a just and righteous man. He was a man of mercy and compassion. Instead of having Mary stoned or put on public display (which was within his rights) for what he must have believed was adultery, he chose to take the tender and quiet route. After the dream, he went further and kept Mary as his wife and protected them at great risk. Joseph’s life demonstrated the quiet, compassionate way of dealing with sensitive matters. I’ll bet Jesus loved the way that Joseph loved and protected His mama.
Years later, Jesus dealt with a woman caught in adultery. I wonder if Jesus thought back about the lifelong accusations thrown against his mother and the demeanor in which Joseph dealt with it? I wonder. You see, the Bible tells us that Jesus GREW in wisdom and stature. He grew into it. He was mentored. Although he had a righteous, divine nature, someone had to show him how to communicate that on a human level as a man. God chose Joseph to be that man.
In Heaven, I bet that Jesus loves to introduce people to Joseph. What a guy! A very special man. It would be an honor to watch the two of them interact. I miss my father, and I bet Jesus knows how I feel. I hope they have “Father’s Day” in heaven.