Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Upset By The Good New

A Look At Prophecy In The Gospel of Matthew

        IMG_4745                     08 10 26 The Lantern Parade 01.jpg

All Of Jerusalem Was Upset By The Good News


Like Jerusalem we often fear God's intervention.

Even if a Messiah was born,
war would likely come first to secure his throne.
And so it will be
when the Messiah comes again!

1. All Of Jerusalem Was Upset By The Good News

The star in the the east lead the Wise Men to understand a King of the Jews had been born. How? We do not know, but it was prophetic.

For a king to be born in Roman lands suggests possible rebellion. To Herod it suggested a loss of his favored position under Caesar Augustus who had allowed him the title of "King," an ego trip to which he had no godly claim.

This explains why all of Jerusalem was upset. And why not? Even if a Messiah was born, war would likely come first to secure his throne.

Even if a Messiah was not born, the rumor of the rise of a Messiah could bring the wrath of Rome.

Like Jerusalem, we often fear God's intervention.

2.  Micah 5:2-5: A Ruler From Bethlemem

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    are only a small village among all the people of Judah.
Yet a ruler of Israel,

    whose origins are in the distant past,
    will come from you on my behalf.
The people of Israel will be abandoned to their enemies
    until the woman in labor gives birth.
Then at last his fellow countrymen
    will return from exile to their own land.
And he will stand to lead his flock with the Lord’s strength,
    in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
Then his people will live there undisturbed,
    for he will be highly honored around the world.
    And he will be the source of peace.
Micah 5:2 is the prophecy quoted by the religious leaders. But the longer prophecy speaks of war and trauma, a trauma Judah, and Israel suffered once before. Even more reason for the Jews, who were steeped in scripture, to be upset!

However, a beautiful picture of Christ's role lies hidden in Micah 5:2-5's statements:

  • His origins are from the distant past.
  • He will lead his flock with the Lord's strength.
  • He will be highly honored around the world.
  • He will be the source of peace.

Indeed, Jesus' origins are from before creation. When we follow, he does lead his flock with the strength of the divine. While now waning, he remains highly honored around the world, even by his enemies. And, when we follow the scripture's call to rest in him, he is the source of our peace. How desperately many Christians need to learn to rest in him!

The political statements within this prophecy, however, stand yet to be fulfilled.

Christ has yet to become the ruler of Israel. This is why we must be careful to not equate modern Israel with the fulfillment of the great prophecies of scripture. The people of Judah/Israel do not live undisturbed. They have not accepted the Lord as their shepherd but continue the sin of the past, striving to force prophecy by the strength of their own hands. Even rejecting their Messiah.

In fact, if "his people" is too be interpreted according to the New Testament, then much of this prophecy is darkly foreshadowed in the Revelation of John with a parallel structure of events.

3. The Star Took Them Directly To The House

Notice, the words of prophecy remained unneeded. The star took the wise men directly to the house where Jesus lived - no searching needed - as happens today by the Holy Spirit. Those who follow the Spirit are taken directly to Jesus.

Sure it remains valuable to know what God has said in the past and caused to be written down. Sure we can gain much insight from scripture by reading it with the human intellect. However, scripture itself tells us that we can not divine its truths unless the Holy Spirit reads it along with us, enabling us to understand. Scripture even tells us that no person can come to Jesus unless the Spirit enables him or her.

Thank God! The Spirit is always willing! The Star of Grace never leaves, continues to lead.

4.  And A Repeat From Chapter 1 - Obedience!

In Matthew chapter 1, Joseph obeyed all that the angel said to him. 

And here, in chapter 2, God speaks to the wise men in a dream and they obey.

A victim of the recent storms

And now as ever before, prophecy is the word of God.

May We Obey!

Photo Credits:
IMG_4745 by Kevin Rudeforth, some rights reserved
The Lantern Parade 01 by Graham Coreil-Allen, some rights reserved
A victim of the recent storms by Lee Turner, some rights reserved

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