Matthew 2 – A refugee worshiped

Matthew 2 – a story of Worship, rage and a refugee.

I’m writing this in December – so thoughts of Christmas are on my mind.  Matthew 2 starts out with more of the Christmas story – of Jesus’ birth.  Again, this chapter is less about what he does (as he’s a baby) then about happens around him.

NIVNLTMessage

Intro Questions

  • What stories do your parents tell you about your birth?
  • For you parents what stories have you told your children?
  • Have you ever had to flee for your life?  Do you know any refugees?
  • What is moving to a new place life – does it change who you are?
  • Do you think where we grow up defines us?

Watch Matthew 2

Video Debrief

  • What did you notice for the first time?
  • Why did the MAGI come to see Jesus – who was he to them?
  • What do you think of Herod?  Do you think he really wanted to worship Jesus?

Dig  into the Text

16When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
18″A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”[g]

This passage quotes Jeremiah 31:15 – from the old testament.  This is actually referencing back to Genesis 30 – of Jacob’s wife Rachel – who was unable to have children.  It foreshadows the great pain to occur in the New Testament – of Herod killing many, many young children.  Many of you may have had this sink in for the first time watching this video – as it did for me.

My view growing up of Christmas was that it was always this cute and fuzzy holiday (which is appropriate for a kid) – but as an adult I’ve realized there is much more to the story.  Read it again with me – there is the MAGI coming – a wondrous moment of worship for Jesus – coming out of nowhere.  Then it turns dark – Joseph must flee to Egypt with his family to keep Jesus alive – as a refugee from his homeland. Then even when they come back they choose to settle out of place in a different town.  And the old testament foreshadows all of this – from where he will be born, where he will return from and where he will grow up (read the cross-references back to the old testament).

Deeper Questions

  1. How much suffering surround Jesus’ life?  How was it turned to goodness?
  2. How much of the old testament have you read that refers to Jesus in the future ?  Consider studying more.
  3. How much has the history of Israel and Egypt been caught up together?
  4. Did Jesus really ever have a home?

Application Questions

  1. Think about these events – how does it change your view of who Jesus is?
    • The MAGI coming to worship – who does that say Jesus is?
    • Fleeing to Egypt – being a refugee?
    • Settling in a new town – a stranger?
  2. Think of the suffering in life – can it be made into goodness?  How did Jesus’ life show this?
  3. Do we really have a home?  Are we strangers in this world? Do we live like it?

Bonus/Deeper Study

  1. Read the “Christmas” story in the different gospels.
  2. Read the chapter on suffering on Lee Strobel’s book – The Case for Faith.
  3. Who do you think the MAGI are?

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