The short passage in Scripture that refers to Jesus' family's escape from Herod into Egypt is probably one of the most overlooked passages in the Christmas narrative, yet it is rich in meaning and theological significance. The surface meaning of Matthew 2:13-15 is simply this. The king, Herod the Great, perceives a threat to his … Continue reading Out of Egypt
This morning, I read Matthew 2:7-12. I can't help but be struck by the irony of these pagan priests from a foreign country kneeling in worship of the Messiah, while Herod and "all Jerusalem" find His arrival troubling. A Hollywood screenwriter could not have penned a more fitting introduction to the life of Christ. The fact that … Continue reading Pagan Priests Worship Jesus
Jesus' arrival on the world stage was good news to some and bad news to others. Those two groups came together for the first time in Herod's palace in Jerusalem shortly after Christ was born. Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from … Continue reading Good News or Bad News?
Jesus was born into and grew up in a distinctively Jewish culture, with its many traditions and rituals. He spoke out against many of these during his three years of ministry as an adult, not because there was anything wrong with the traditions and rituals in themselves, but because people (specifically the religious leaders of … Continue reading Simeon & Anna Waiting for God to Act
After the announcement of Jesus' birth by the angels, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And … Continue reading Responses to Jesus’ Birth
When Jesus was born, the first audience to receive the birth announcement was a group of sheep herders tending their flocks somewhere outside Bethlehem. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the … Continue reading Glory to God, and Peace Between God and Man
In contrast to his initial response (disbelief) when the angel first told him he would have a son, and also in contrast to the responses of his relatives and friends (awkward discomfort, surprise and fear), Zechariah now wastes no time giving an appropriate response (worship) to God for what He has done in giving this … Continue reading Zechariah Gets It Right