Matthew 2 Three Responses To Jesus

by | Oct 19, 2023 | Matthew, New Testament

I. Herod

A. Personal History

1. Herod the King- An “Edomite”, who married into the Jewish race.
2. Edomites: not pure Jews; descendants of Esau; somewhat Jewish re. religion
3. Was given the title “King of the Jews” by Caesar Augustus.
4. Small man/big ego: 4’4” tall
5. High taxes & love of Roman customs alienated him from the Jews
6. He tried to pacify the Jews with his building programs
Masada, Caesarea, the aqueduct, remodeled 2nd Temple, Temple Mount walls.

7. He was kind at times: gave back taxes one year; once melted his own gold & minted coins for the poor
8. Murderous at other times: Cruel paranoia

a. Married famous Jewish woman whose brother was High Priest
b. Drowned him because of jealousy
c. Killed wife and two sons from fear of being overthrown
d. Popular saying: “Safer to be his pig than to be his child”
He wouldn’t eat pork b/c of kosher diet, but willing to murder his family

B. Man Of Self Preservation/Promotion

1. Herod troubled about being unseated as “king” V. 3
A true Son of David, a Jew, would be a threat this half-breed Edomite “king”
2. Herod knew how to use religion for personal gain

a. Knew where to go to gather information V.4
b. Knew how to “play the game” regarding worship of Jesus V. 4, 7, 8
c. He was insincere in his confession towards Christ
d. His “interest” in Jesus was only for personal gain

3. Herod’s claim of wanting to worship Jesus was a lie

C. Modern Day Herods

1. Say the right things; go through the motions of worshipping Christ
2. Know how to ask the “right” questions
3. Church: a place for personal gain. “Worship to receive something”
4. Looking for a spouse, mate, business
5. Somewhere to “do their own thing” in ministry; self fulfilling
6. Church becomes a place where you go to get, not to give. Consumerism.

D. “Herods” Are Always Revealed V. 16-18

1. “Herods” use religion/worship/church/Jesus/Christians for personal gain
2. When they don’t get their way, their true colors show: resulting in destruction

II. Jerusalemites

A. Religiously Educated & Experienced

1. Chief priests & scribes knew where Messiah would come from V.4
2. Not a difficult question for them
3. Much more knowledgeable about Jesus than either Herod or the Wise Men

B. Dead Religion/Status Quo

1. Remember- God had been silent for 400 years. No prophecies since Malachi
2. They should have been anticipating this announcement
3. They were all troubled at the arrival of the Wise Men V. 3

a. Israel was an occupied nation/ruled by Rome
b. A “new king” might means a revolt among many Jewish patriots
c. Caesar would respond w/more troops, more dominance
d. Instead of choosing religious freedom, they settled for foreign domination

4. Their lifestyles would be upset. Effort would be needed. Things would change
5. Wasn’t it worth it? This was God’s promised Messiah
6. Willing to settle for the “dead religion”, even if it means foreign domination
7. They knew Messiah had come, but wouldn’t travel the 5 miles to see Him
8. They could instruct/debate/teach re. Messiah, but they wouldn’t worship Him

C. Modern Day Jerusalemites

1. Much knowledge about Jesus: Can instruct others, but no passionate worship
2. Willing to settle for “status quo”; follow Jesus, but don’t “rock the boat”.

III. The Wise Men

A. Who They Were

1. wise men – magos – a magus; the name given by the Babylonians (Chaldeans), Medes, Persians, and others, to the wise men, teachers, priests, physicians, astrologers, astronomers, seers, interpreters of dreams, sorcerers etc.
2. This would have been the position Daniel held during his Babylonian captivity
3. Could they have known the prophecy of Balaam?
Numbers 24:17 “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel,
4. They are astronomers; God uses a star to speak to them

B. They Worshipped Jesus

1. Great physical effort needed- – Not just three wise men. Probably a large caravan, with many provisions. They traveled many miles, over weeks/months. Slept during the day, followed the star at night.
2. Left their comfort zone to find Jesus, worship Him. Away from family/culture
3. Costly- Gold, frankincense, and myrrh were very expensive gifts.
4. Persistent- Saw the star, but wanted to see Jesus, saw Jesus, but wanted to worship. (Psalm 27:4 One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple.)
5. Humble- Required that they stop & ask for directions. Some say that this proves they weren’t wise men at all, but wise women. ☺
6. Exceedingly joyful at seeing the star V. 10
7. Their worship of Jesus was seen in their obedience V. 12
8. Brian Bell- Those who look for Jesus will see Him. Those who see Him will Worship Him. Those who Worship Him will consecrate their substance to Him
9. Their lives were so impacted by the discovery of this King, that they made great effort to worship Him.

C. Be A Modern Day “Wise Man”- Worship Jesus