Preparing The Way
Please Read: Matthew 3:1-12
Something about John the Baptist strikes us. He is odd… O-D-D. Yet, that is what drew people to him more than likely. He wore strange clothes and ate strange things (v.4) but something about him probably just seemed right. John taught repentance and the Jews were listening. John was sent to prepare the way for Jesus Christ and he is not ashamed to let the people know this (v.11-12) and when he sees the Pharisees and Sadducees, the men that were supposedly above reproach, he rebukes them (v. 7-10). These men thought that their good deeds and their family tree saved them. They believed that because they were children of Abraham and that they counted themselves more worthy than the rest of the “vile sinners”, that they had a special claim on God but John warned them that unless they were repentant and produced fruit in keeping with repentance, they would be “cut down and thrown into the fire” (v.10)
John reminds the religious elite and the commoners alike that repentance will pave the way to forgiveness of sin and closeness with God.
John the Baptist was prophesied about: Isaiah 40:3, Malachi 3:1
To read more about John the Baptist’s interesting conception and birth, read Luke 1:5-25, 57-80
John the Baptist denies being Elijah and the Messiah, proclaims Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God: John 1:15-35
Out of Egypt
Please Read: Matthew 2:13-23
Joseph was obedient to God. His obedience even led to the fulfillment of a prophecy (Hosea 11:1). Once, many hundreds of years before the events of Jesus’ boyhood took place, God called Moses to lead His children out of Egypt but before Moses finally could, an equally horrifying scene took place there as the one that is happening in verses 16-18 (Exodus 11). Now God was calling Joseph to take His Son and flee to Egypt to be kept safe from King Herod’s orders. Once again an angel appeared in a dream to Joseph and Joseph obeyed God as He calls him out of Egypt with Mary and Jesus. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus settle into a town called Nazareth in the district of Galilee. Once again Joseph obeys and thus fulfills the prophecy: “He will be called a Nazarene.” (v.23)
Obedience is important to God. Faith and trust are equally important for without them it is very hard to be obedient.
For inspiration and encouragement in faith, trust, and obedience you may want to read Hebrews 11.
Please Read: Matthew 2:1-12
The Magi were truly wise men. They came from afar to see the Christ child. They saw His star and they followed it! They traveled from a faraway place seeking the Savior. The wise men came with expensive gifts to give the King Jesus but the most precious gift they could give was their worship. They came seeking to worship and praise. We could learn a lot from these wise men. Their story is short but one we need to remember. Just as the wise men traveled from afar to seek Jesus, so we must seek him every day.
As for King Herod, he was not very wise. He felt threatened by the birth of Christ. He was afraid that people would turn their attention and allegiance to someone other than him. His heart was not open to the good news of Christ’s birth and he lied to the wise men so that they would quickly find Jesus, report back to him where Jesus was so that he could make sure the baby king didn’t get the chance to grow up and become the ruler He was prophesied to be.
King Herod was jealous and unwise, he only thought of himself and how he might be affected by the birth of Jesus.
The Wise men were truly wise; they sought the Savior and offered Him gifts, praise, and worship. We should be like the wise men and have hearts that are eagerly seeking the Lord and always ready to worship Him.
* Scriptures that describe Jesus as “light”:
2 Peter 1:19
Psalms 2:6-10, Micah 5:2-5, Zechariah 9:9
The Birth of the Messiah
Please Read: Matthew 1:18-25
Joseph loved Mary. Joseph also loved God’s Word and was faithful to the Lord. In those days, a man had a right to divorce his fiancé or wife if he had suspected that she loved someone else or wasn’t faithful to him alone. He was allowed to make a public disgrace or embarrassment of his fiancé or wife if he wished but instead he was willing to show Mary grace and “divorce her quietly” so she would not endure shame.
Thankfully an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and cleared things up pretty quickly. Joseph didn’t argue with the angel, he believed the message from God and he did as the Lord commanded and took Mary home as his wife. It must have been perplexing to him to watch Mary’s stomach stretch from the growth of the Son of God.
Immanuel means “God with us”. Jesus chose to step down from Heaven and BE with us, to be born among us, to live with us, to feel what we feel, see what we see, to depend on earthly parents just the way you do and the way we all have since the beginning of time. Jesus truly is “with us” always.
Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 53
The Genealogy of Jesus
Please Read: Matthew 1:1-17
These first seventeen verses are a kind of preface into the life of Christ. The Messiah had been promised for forty-two generations before He made His arrival. Everything was planned by God to bring the Christ-child into existence under just the right circumstances to accomplish the plan of salvation for mankind.
God used every single person named in this passage, from Abraham to Joseph, to accomplish His will and bring about Jesus Christ who would save us from our sin. The Jews patiently waited for the King of Kings to make His entry into our world and the Messiah wasn’t exactly what the Jews had expected but He was just what God had been promising all along.
Genesis 12:1-3, Genesis 17:19, Genesis 21:12, and Genesis 22:17-18, Genesis 49:10, Numbers 24:17, 2 Samuel 7:12-13, Isaiah 9:6-7