Bible Study lesson:
- In first two chapters, we see 4 times ‘Angel of the Lord’ appeared in a dream.3 times to Joseph, and 1 time 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 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.)
- Old testament Prophecy in Jer 31:15 is fulfilled. 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 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 would 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. It has been defeated by Jesus on the cross.
- There is a hope that this evil will be eliminated forever. And we will see God’s perfect good.
Also Check out in-depth Study: Lectionary Blogging : Matthews 2:13-23
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