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Bible Pathways 10/01/2001

October 01

Read Matthew 1 -- 3

The birth of Jesus 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 were come 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 MaryÆs 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), John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea . . . saying, Repent: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. . . . they were baptized by him in Jordan, confessing their sins. . . . Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. . . . And lo a voice came from Heaven, saying, This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:1-17).

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 means betrothed or engaged; before they came together means she was a virgin; 2:16 mocked of means deceived, tricked; coasts means surrounding regions; 3:8 fruits meet for repentance means a life that proves your change of heart; 3:15 suffer it to be means allow it to be; it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness means 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 · BPM Staff: Dr. John A. Hash · Pray for your church leaders · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast sponsored by Al and Leola Utter · Pray for the Bible Pathway Arabic International Radio broadcast for the month of October sponsored by Mrs. Aaron Bauer, Mrs. Ione Boblitz, and Joel and Carol Notes · Country: Benin (6 million) in western Africa · Major languages: French and tribal languages · Some hostility toward Christians · 59% animism and voodoo; 17% Muslim; 16% Roman Catholic; 3% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Raise your hands in praise and prayer, and worship the Lord (I Timothy 2:8).

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 3:17

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