October 1

Read Matthew 1 -- 3

In Today’s Reading:

Ancestors of Jesus Christ; His birth; visit of the Wise Men; flight into Egypt; return to Nazareth, ministry of John the Baptist; baptism of Jesus; temptation by Satan; first apostles called.This Week’s Memory Verse: Matthew 3:17

The birth of Jesus Christ [took place] this [way]: When . . . His mother Mary was espoused (betrothed) to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child (pregnant) of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18).

The amazing wise men from the east, perhaps Persia, were led by a star to Jerusalem, where they inquired: Where is He that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him (2:1-2). It is probable that these men had studied the prophecies of Daniel, who, during the 70-year captivity, gave detailed explanation of the number of years that would pass before the Messiah would be born (Daniel 9:25-26).

It took the wise men some length of time after the birth of Christ to arrive in Bethlehem since we read when they [came] into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother (Matthew 2:11). Finding the newborn King in the house as a young child rather than a babe in the manger indicates several months or more had passed after the birth of Jesus. These wise men represent the Gentile world far beyond the border of Israel, saying: We have . . . come to worship Him (2:2).

Their worship included three gifts (2:11). First, they offered gold, the most fitting gift for the King of kings, and Lord of lords (I Timothy 6:15). Then, they offered frankincense, a sweet perfume used on the Altar of Incense in the Temple to worship God. It was a fitting gift for a Priest, for this King would also be our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14) and would make intercession for us (Romans 8:34) before God. They also offered myrrh, which signified that He was destined to die; myrrh was often used as a burial spice (John 19:39). During Jesus' intense suffering on the cross, He was offered a drink mingled with myrrh to deaden His pain (Mark 15:23).

Led by the star, the wise men traveled a long distance to bring their costly gifts to worship the Messiah. In the providence of God, their gifts also provided adequate resources for Joseph and Mary’s journey and stay in Egypt.

Mary and Joseph remained in Egypt until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken . . . by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt I have called My Son (Matthew 2:15; Hosea 11:1). Then they dwelt in a city called Nazareth, where Jesus lived until He was about 30 years old (Matthew 2:23; Luke 3:23).

In fulfillment of prophecy (Matthew 3:1) . . . came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea . . . saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. . . . [they] were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins . . . Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. . . . And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:1-17).

Thought for Today: It takes more than human reasoning to willingly sacrifice time and treasure to the Lord; it takes genuine love and dedication.

NOTE: Definitions may not agree with present-day usage as given in your dictionary; we attempt to explain the thought expressed in the original language.

Word Studies:

1:18 espoused = betrothed or engaged; before they came together = she was a virgin; 2:16 mocked of = deceived, tricked; coasts = surrounding regions; 3:8 fruits meet for repentance = a life that proves your change of heart; 3:15 suffer it to be = allow it to be; it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness = it is necessary for us to do all that God requires.

Cross References:

For Matthew 1:23: See Isa. 7:14. Matt. 2:6: See Mic. 5:2. Matt. 2:15: See Hos. 11:1. Matt. 2:18: See Jer. 31:15. Matt. 3:3: See Isa. 40:3.

Prayer Needs:

Government Official: Justice William Rehnquist · Pray for your pastor · Country: Vietnam (77million) in Southeast Asia · Major languages: Vietnamese and French · Very strict control of Christians in the North; the South has been more lenient but is getting tighter · 65% Buddhist and Buddhist sects; 7% Roman Catholic; 4% belief in evil spirits and ancestor worship; .4% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray to be content with and thankful for the things you have (Hebrews 13:5).

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 15:4