Sermon: Jesus, The Messiah-King Born in the City of David Matthew 2:1-12

Jesus, The Messiah-King Born in the City of David

Matthew 2:1-12

Truth Taught- According to Old Testament prophecy the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, the City of David

Introduction

Last time as we looked at the birth narrative from Joseph’s perspective we saw the first of five Old Testament quotes by Matthew to prove that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah.

Last time we saw that he quoted from Isaiah 7:14 a virgin shall conceive and you will call him Immanuel. By quoting this passage and connecting it to Jesus’ birth narrative, Matthew is telling us that the Messiah will be born of a virgin.

Today we see the second Old Testament quotation by Matthew showing that Jesus is the Messiah. The point being, it is the Messiah and only the Messiah who is the King to save His people from their sin.

So, we learned that the Messiah would be born of a virgin. Matthew tells us that Jesus is the King in line with David, finishing the David gematria, and born of the virgin. So far we have amazing inconclusive truth that Jesus is the Messiah. Being the Messiah, we can expect Jesus to do Messiah things. Before we get to that point in the Gospel of Matthew we still have more proofs the have laid out before us.

Today’s proof is the prophecy that the Messiah-king was to be born in Bethlehem.

Let’s see what Matthew has for us today.

Prayer

Matthew 2:1–12 (ESV)

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

   “ ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

       for from you shall come a ruler

who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ”

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

  1. The Messiah-King Must Be Born in Bethlehem

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

   “ ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

       for from you shall come a ruler

who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ”

  1. Magi Come to Worship the Messiah

Since the Messiah-King has to be born in Bethlehem according to Micah 5:2 how does God get Jesus to Bethlehem? God works through a wicked Roman Emperor who cared nothing about Jesus but only money and power to fulfill Holy Scripture. God is sovereign over all even those who are pagans

Luke 2:1–7 (ESV)

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Magi- wise men from the east came to Jerusalem

These were foreign dignitaries probably from Persia/Babylon who practiced astrology, interpretation of dreams, and magical arts. They were probably instructors to their king. These would be seen as the ones in the Book of Daniel for example who tried to interpret the dreams of the King of Babylon.

The reception of Herod and their gifts really picture multiple dignitaries with an entourage of many people, including family and servants and others from Persia not just three.

A careful reading of the text tells us that they came to Jerusalem because they were following the Messiah’s star. No one really knows what that was. Some attempts have been made to reconstruct the context but the Gospel writers really don’t go into detail so we must be content to accept this at face value.

Whatever it was, it led them to Jerusalem, the capitol city of the region. It was when the Scribes and Chief Priests were assembled that the wise men learned of Bethlehem. The star led them to Jerusalem and they probably thought that Herod perhaps had a child but they would soon learn the truth.

Bethlehem is just a few miles from Jerusalem. So, they head out to search for this King of the Jews to pay tribute and worship Him.

The Scribes quote a famous Messiah prophecy as they are asked by Herod where the Messiah-King was to be born. So, we see the ancient tradition that the Micah 5:2 passage was, in fact, seen to be a Messianic prediction showing the geography as to where the Messiah was going to be born.

We also know from Luke’s account that Bethlehem is the City of David. By this we have yet another connection between Jesus and David.

  1. King Herod is Troubled

King Herod had been appointed king of the Jews by the Roman Empire. He was not Jewish at all. Herod continually felt threatened by just about everyone.

Once he thought his wife was plotting against him and had her killed. He had one of his sons killed whom he thought was showing interest in the throne. He was a paranoid power hungry ruler who really had no claim to the throne at all.

Now, the wise men come searching for the true King of the Jews. In other words, they didn’t stop when they found Herod but asked him if he knew of this King whose star they had followed who was the King of the Jews…Herod’s job.

  1. The Messiah-King Must Be Worshipped by the Nations

“Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

We see in verse 3 the reason the Magi came to Jerusalem. They came to find this new King so they could worship Him. They state their purpose even to Herod who falsely tells them that he too desires to know the location of the new King so he can also worship Him.

We know Herod was lying. Even children know Herod was lying. I’d say the Magi also probably knew.

They learn from the Scribes that Jesus was born in Bethlehem but they don’t know where exactly. After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.

The Magi begin their 5 mile trip from Jerusalem to Bethlehem not knowing where they would be going. Once they were well on their way the star appeared again. This time it led them to the exact spot where Jesus was. When they saw the star they rejoiced.

11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

Something very significant is taking place here. These foreign dignitaries are coming to worship the Messiah. These men of great affluence come an bow down, literally fell down in worship of the King of Kings.

When they rose, in very humble fashion, they present gifts to King Jesus. Their gifts are kingly gifts. These gifts are traditionally gifts present to a king. Matthew it seems by mentioning the gifts and what they were wants us to make a connection.

In the OT there was a visiting royal dignitary who came to King Solomon with the same gifts. When the Queen of Sheba came to see Solomon she came bearing many of the same gifts. These are gifts given to Kings… gold and frankincense and myrrh.

Later Matthew captures Jesus’ teaching…

Matthew 12:42 (ESV)

42 The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.

God led these foreigners to the Messiah to worship Him and pay homage to Him. Matthew also wants us to see that Jesus is the Messiah who will save His people and His people are made up of those from all nations not just the Jews.

So, again we are connected to the promise God made to Abraham…

Genesis 22:18 (ESV)

18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

After the Magi come and find Jesus they worship Him and give Him gifts suitable for a King. Their task is complete. Through this account God has proven once again that Jesus is the Messiah-King.

He had to be born in Bethlehem and the Magi find Him and fall down to worship. Just as quickly as they entered the pages of the Bible they leave.

12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

God spoke to them by way of a dream. He told them to go back a different route, not through Jerusalem and not to Herod. These instructions, this different route, would be the event that would set off Herod and put him on his rampage to kill the innocents in Jerusalem.

Application

Today as we look to this passage I want us to notice the different responses to the message that the Messiah is born in Bethlehem.

Herod’s Response of Anger

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him;

Why do you think Herod was angry? His idols were being threatened. He worshipped Herod the king. He wanted power and fortune and the real King would threaten all that.

Some people today are angry when they hear about the true King. When they discover that they are not really king they are threatened and become angry. You may know of someone who is angered by Jesus?

Jesus will be reckoned with.   If the prophecy was untrue then why would Herod even bother…who cares would be the response to this message if it wasn’t true. Herod knew it was true. He was angered and would take further steps to try to kill Jesus…literally kill the threat. He knew the truth.

Is Jesus a threat to you today? Realize, you may try to act like Jesus isn’t but He’s not going away. How long do you think you can avoid Him? He is the Messiah-King who will have your worship or else. This is the King of Kings He is not to be demeaned or ignored. Herod learned this the hard way and is still learning it even today as he endures to suffering of eternal judgment.

The Scribe’s and Chief Priest’s Response of Indifference

and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea

Herod called in the experts. The Scribes were the conservatives who sought to maintain traditional Jewish culture. The Chief Priests were Sadducees; they were willing to accommodate Roman and Jewish culture. Herod knew if these two groups would agree on the place of the Messiah’s birth then it had to be true. They both knew that answer to the Bible Trivia question. Both said Bethlehem. They knew the prophecy Micah 5:2. They knew that the prophets were moved by God to write. They knew what the prophet said, God said. Yet, Matthew indicates that they did nothing after answering the question.

I’m afraid there may be some here today who can give a correct answer to a Bible question. There may be some here who know the Gospel and can explain the doctrine of election and know many answers to many questions and yet may be like these experts Herod called in. They knew the answer but did not rejoice or go with the Magi to find Jesus.
Why no response? Maybe they liked their job as a Scribe too much to take a chance on loosing it. Maybe they liked to be in with Herod. Maybe they knew the answer but didn’t believe.
I’m afraid there may be those here today who perhaps have grown up in a Christian home and know the answers but are not moved by the answers. Perhaps for some other reason you are apathetic toward the truths of God. Just because you can give the right answer does not make you a Christian. Do you know the right answer? Believe it? And follow Christ? Do you show fruit of the Spirit? Love the brethren? Etc? Or are you apathetic and indifferent?
The Worship of the Magi
Here’s something surprising the Scribes knew more Bible than the Magi. The Magi would never win a Bible Trivia Game. They knew one thing. This baby is the true Messiah-King. God brought us here with His star and we are going to present this King with right worship. Theirs was a worship that cost them something. They gave King Jesus the very best they had.

Are you worshipping Jesus extravagantly? Or do you worshipping on a budget? These gifts were gifts of extravagant worship because the King of Kings is worthy. I pray you are giving your best in worship and service to Christ and His church. Give Jesus you best not your leftovers…He is the true Messiah-King worthy of all our love and adoration.

 

 

*Resources Used:

Matthew by D A Carson in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary

A Theology of Matthew by Charles Quarles

A Gospel of Matthew by France

Matthew by Craig Bloomberg

Matthew by Doriani

Matthew by Charles Price

Matthew by Leon Morris

Blue Letter Bible

 

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