Matthew 2

Vs. 1, “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi a from the east came to Jerusalem.”  Matthew wants to ensure that the reader understands that Jesus was born in the city of David which would fulfill the requirement that the Son of God must be born in Bethlehem (vs. 6 – Micah 5:2).  The visit from the Magi would remind us that the Gospel is for Jew and Gentile.  We get a glimpse of the evil of Herod and ultimately the enemy (satan) who tries to stop God’s will.  Sadly, the world would already hate Jesus as a baby.  I love how Matthew uses scripture to backup Jesus, because we see a reference from (vs. 8)…good old Jeremiah 31:15, talking about Herod’s edict to kill all boys under the age of two.  Matthew also quotes from (vs. 15), the prophet Hosea 11:1, that the king would come out of Egypt.  As you hav read, we have many character’s in this chapter: The Magi’s response, Herod’s response, the Chief Priests and teacher’s response and Joseph’s response.  Each giving us insight to the condition of their hearts.

 

Regarding application...Responding Rightly.  Vs. 11, “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.”  The Magi’s response is a wonderful example for us all!  But I wanted to focus more about how Joseph and Mary responded.  Notice the gifts they lavished upon Joseph, Mary, and Jesus.  Remember, that Joseph and Mary were poor.  When an Angel of the Lord came to them to tell them to flee Egypt, this was a very expensive endeavor.  Question: How did they afford such a move?  Some scholars suggest by the gifts.  The point I’m sharing is that when God tells us to do something; He also provides!!!  Therefore, we are challenged to have a right response to His call in our lives.  Question: How are you responding these days to the Lord?  Let God speak to your heart and mind today!

I Peter 3

Vs. 15, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”  AMEN!  This is one of the many reasons why we read His Word…so that we always have a response to give with love & gentleness.  Christian women should remember that beauty comes from the inside, not the exterior (Vs. 2-4).  Christian men should treat their wives with gentle love and honor (Vs. 7).  We also are reminded of the word we don’t like to hear, but it is one all Christians must come to grip with…”suffering.”  Anybody can suffer for doing wrong, but Christians must learn to suffer for doing what is right. Of course, Jesus is the example for us to follow.

Regarding application…Responding To Insults.  Vs. 9, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”  Peter encourages Christians to act and respond like Jesus.  He endured suffering and ridicule without a vindicative response.  There is a contrast between our natural tendency as human beings, to get even when we are offended versus with the way we should act as believers.  Now…for a little “context” lesson…who are those whom Peter is admonishing us not to repay evil with evil?  Look no further than Vs. 8…Peter was not addressing some evil Roman pagan empire or the false prophets and teachers…Peter was addressing those who belonged to the family of God.  Christians were paying evil for evil towards each other…the ramifications are obvious.  If the outside world saw Christians treating each other like this…than what would be the point of church if they act just like the rest of the world?  Unfortunately, this same exhortation exists for us today.  Most of us have probably been a part of a church split or seeing congregations get rid of Pastors etc…  It’s moments like these that we see the church not practicing true love from Christ.  Let us throw off that attitude like we deserve something and remember that if Jesus the very Son of God could humble himself before His own creation…than we could surely humble ourselves with each other.