Bible Study lesson:
- In the first two chapters, we see four times ‘Angel of the Lord‘ appeared in a dream, three times to Joseph, and once to the Magi (Check out Geneology of Messiah – Matthews 1:1-17, Joseph – Father of Jesus – Mat 1:18-25, Magi’s Visit – Matthews 2:1-12).
- We also see 6 prophecies being fulfilled during the first 3 chapters. Matthew is preparing his Jewish readers for the arrival of Messiah with series of prophecies.
Q. Significance of Ramah and escape to Egypt?
- Ramah was about 5 miles north of Jerusalem, Israel. It indicates that King Herod’s slaughter of children extended at least 10 miles around Bethlehem, including Jerusalem. (Bethlehem is a town 5 miles SW of Jerusalem.)
- It was a fulfillment of Old testament Prophecy in Jer 31:15. The Babylonians used Ramah as a collection point for the captives from Israel, they were about to exile!
- Rachel was buried in Ramah. (1 Sam 10:2)
- Escape to Egypt – It was like a cross cultural experience for Joseph and his family. (Cross-cultural experience can bring you out of your comfort zone, it teaches you to depend on God more.)
Q. Meaning of Nazarene?
- Prophecy in Matthew 2:23, is not exactly recorded in any of the prophets. It is thought to be referred to Isaiah 11:1 – “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse, from his roots, a branch will bear fruit.” Here Messiah is called ‘Netser’ or shoot out of the roots of Jesse. The name Nazareth was probably derived from the same root.
- Nazarene means someone or something from Nazareth, friendly meaning – ‘Jesus of Nazareth’. ( Just like ‘Okies’ for natives of Oklahoma!)
- It was also used by his enemies as a expression of scorn. (Matthew 26:71, Mark 14:67)
Q. The slaughter of children by kind Herod
- King Herod gave an order to kill all the babies, not only in Bethlehem, but vicinity, to kill so-called threat to his regime – ‘a new born baby‘!
- Think of some recent human tragedy (not a natural calamity) which had a pronounce effect on people’s mind for a long time.
- 9/11 attacks, Holocaust, shoot out at Virginia tech, Terrorist attacks in Mumbai …
- Why do we see history being repeated over and over again, when somebody or some group bring such a great evil for their own agenda or thinking? Why or How does God allow such evil to innocent people, babies? These are hard questions to answer. Honestly, I do not have an answer. But in face of such great evil, there is a hope, that God can still bring out good.
- By saving child Jesus, on that day, God has shown the ultimate answer to Evil. The evil has been defeated by Jesus on the cross.
- There is a hope that this evil will be eliminated forever one day. And we will see God’s perfect good.
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