The Unexpected King of the Jews

Matthew 2 - The unexpected King of the Jews

Last week we explored the first half of Matthew by watching the Bible Project’s video on Matthew Part One. We saw that the Gospel of Matthew highlights three key themes:

  1. Jesus is from the royal line of David
  2. Jesus is the greater Moses
  3. Jesus is Immanuel “God with Us”

The introduction (ch. 1-3) zooms in and focuses on how Jesus is connected to David and Abraham by beginning with a genealogy. To us, genealogies are often boring and confusing, listing names of people who we may have never heard of. But to Matthew and his fellow Jewish readers it was of utmost importance as one could gaze into the family lineage they would inherit at birth.

Matthew structured the genealogy highlighting three key moments in Jewish history: Abraham, King David, and the exile. Matthew was thus saying, “this birth is what Israel has been waiting for for two thousand years.” Matthew continued with the birth of Jesus revealing that he was conceived by the Holy Spirit fulfilling the prophecy in Isaiah 7. At last, the King of the Jews has arrived, but his arrival sparks various responses. 

This next week we will be journeying through Matthew 2. Normally we read and hear Matthew 2 during Christmas time, however this week when you read ahead try stepping out of the Christmas mindset and into the scenario itself with the hopes of reading afresh an all too familiar story. Imagine yourself through the lenses of Mary or Joseph, one of the wise men, a family in the village of Bethlehem, or even a Roman soldier given orders by King Herod. What would be some of your thoughts as the events unfold? 

As you read ahead here are some observation questions to be thinking about:

  1. What are the three Old Testament references highlighted in Matthew 2? Go back and read them in their original context. How does that shed light on this chapter?
  2. What King reigned during the birth of Jesus? What was his response when he realized the wise men outwitted him?
  3. What was the response of Israel’s religious leaders to the Messiah being born?
  4. Think about God's promises of the Messiah that was to come, one that would bring justice to the entire world. Now think about his actual arrival in the midst of darkness and chaos. How does that illuminate Immanuel, God with us, especially amidst our own pain and darkness? 
  5. Think about power vs weakness in light of Matthew 2. How does that compare to our day today? How does the world view weakness today? 
  6. Read Psalm 72 through the lens of the gospel of King Jesus.

My prayer for us this week:

  1. That we grasp a deeper understanding that our High Priest does truly empathize with our weaknesses and pain.
  2. That we ourselves continue to grow deeper in compassion and love for others, especially the vulnerable, as we begin to try to empathize with their weaknesses and pain. 
  3. That the King of Peace would comfort all of those who are afflicted, hurting, or oppressed. 

Have a good week. See you guys Sunday. You are blessed to be a blessing.

MatthewJustin NeSmith