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Scripture Reading:  Luke 2:1-7

Matthew 2: Recognizing the King



1.  The coming of the Son of God was the most significant event to that moment in the history of the world, Lk. 2:10-14. Yet, most of the Jews refused to recognize Jesus as the Christ (Jno. 1:11).

2.  Matthew 2: Recognition of the Messiah is the backdrop of this record of Jesus’ birth and subsequent events.

3.  Matthew uses fulfilled prophecy and historical narrative to build the case that Jesus is the Messiah.



  A.  The Place of His Birth, Matt. 2:1-6.

    1.  Micah 5:2 (735-700 BC): Bethlehem Ephrathah (Judea, Lk. 2:4).

      a.  Small town 6 mi. SW of Jerusalem, Jno. 7:42.

      b.  Some misunderstood birth prophecies, Jno. 7:41-43.

      c.  Seed of David (Matt. 1:1): Where David was from (1 Sam. 17:12).

    2.  For one to deny Jesus is Messiah he must: (1) Reject accepted interpretation of Mic. 5:2 of the day, (2) Reinterpret Mic. 5:2, or (3) Reject the prophecy altogether.

    3.  Taken by itself, being born in Bethlehem does not prove Jesus is Messiah.  But, where he was born was beyond the control of one who would later claim to be the Messiah! (2:1)

  B.  Called out of Egypt, Matt. 2:13-15, 19-21.

    1.  As God had preserved Jacob’s house from famine (Gen. 45:5, 7) He was now preserving the life of His Son, 2:13-14.

      a.  Hasty departure (“by night”), 2:14.

      b.  Gifts sustained them there, 2:11. (Divine provisions)

    2.  “Out of Egypt I called my Son,” 2:15. Said of Israel (Exo. 4:22-23) when God delivered the nation, Hosea 11:1.

      a.  Son: Matthew clearly says Jesus is Son of God, 2:15 (1:20, 23; Lk. 1:35).

      b.  Preserved by the providence and intervention of God, Jesus’ life (when beyond His control) was fulfilling prophecies.

  C.  Called a Nazarene (despised; of lowly estate), Matt. 2:21-23.

    1.  Rather than go back to Bethlehem, in fear they went to Nazareth (Lk. 2:4). Fulfilled prophecy, but which one?

      a.  No single prophecy like this is specifically found in OT.

      b.  Prophetic message in general was that He would be despised, rejected & of lowly estate, Psa. 22:6; 69:4; Isa. 53:2.

    2.  Slander/libel, “Nazarene” was a statement of scorn and derision (insignificant town with Gentile influences), Jno. 1:45-46 (Acts 24:5).

    3.  A reason some rejected Jesus as Christ, Jno. 7:41-42, 52.



  A.  Herod: Neither Truly “King” nor a “Jew.” (Herod the Great)

    1.  “King” – Title without power, 2:1-2. Ruled Judea 37-4 BC; Clever politician, ruthlessly pursued power (killed 2 wives and 3 sons!).

    2.  Not a Jew – Idumean (Edomites). Nominal “Jew” (circumcision had been forced on the Idumeans in 125 BC).        

    3.  Jews saw Herod as usurper of throne of David; Herod tried to win favor of Jews (rebuilt temple; etc.; in vain).

    4.  His jealousy over his position was severe, 2:3-4, 16 (Jer. 31:15).

  B.  Contrast Jesus with Herod the Great:

    1.  Heir to throne (1:1ff) vs. Idumean claiming “King of the Jews”.

    2.  Jew vs. Nominal Jew.

    3.  Came to save (1:21) vs. Murderous slaughter.

    4.  Lowly station (2:23) vs. Title and position.

  C.  The Wise Men Worship the Child, 2:2, 11.

     -True “King of the Jews” would be a universal king (Magi -- Persia).



  A.  Those who are Wise Still Seek Him, Psa. 2:10-12.

    1.  His salvation / His rule / His rest, Matt. 11:28-30; Col. 3:17.

    2.  The wise serve and obey Him, cf. Matt. 6:33; 7:24.

  B.  The Wicked Despise and Reject Jesus as King.

    1.  Driven by pride, power, jealousy and blinded by sin, they refuse to honor Him.

    2.  Which are we?  (Josh. 24:15)



1.  Matthew has presented ways we can recognize the King (fulfillment of OT prophecies and historical narrative).

2.  It is up to us to acknowledge Him (Jno. 8:23-24; Rom. 10:9-10).