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Bible Pathways 10/01/2003

October 1

Read Matthew 1 -- 3

In Today's Reading:

Ancestry of Jesus; His birth; wise men; flight into Egypt; ministry of John; baptism of Jesus; temptation by Satan; first apostles called

The birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as His mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost (Spirit) (Matthew 1:18).

The amazing wise men from the east, perhaps from Babylon, 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 captivity, gave a detailed explanation of the number of years 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, and fell down, and worshiped Him (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 in a Bethlehem manger.

The wise men had 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 the Lord of lords (I Timothy 6:15). Then, they offered frankincense, a sweet perfume used on the Altar of Incense in the Temple, symbolic of prayer ascending to God. It was a fitting gift for a priest, for this King would also be our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14) Who also makes 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).

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 of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called My Son (Matthew 2:15; Hosea 11:1). Then they dwelled in . . . Nazareth (where Jesus lived until He was about 30 years old) (Matthew 2:23).

Word Studies:

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

Cross References:

For Matthew 1:23: See Isaiah 7:14. Matthew 2:6: See Micah 5:2. Matthew 2:15: See Hosea 11:1. Matthew 2:18: See Jeremiah 31:15. Matthew 3:3: See Isaiah 40:3.

Prayer Needs:

BP Staff: Dr. John A. Hash · Pray for the 2003 National Bible Reading Movement · Government Officials: Rep. Devin Nunes (CA) and Justice William Rehnquist · Country: Taiwan (22 million) in eastern Asia · Major languages: Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese · Limited religious freedom · 93% Chinese religions; 4% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray that your life will be a good testimony to others, even when you are faced with opposition (I Peter 2:12).

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 15:4

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