Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?
–Matthew 2:2

The gospel of Matthew was written to the Jews to prove that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah. That is why Matthew includes more quotations from the Old Testament than any other gospel. Matthew is demonstrating that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies in the Old Testament.

Matthew 2, the birth of Jesus, reveals prophecies about the birth of Christ and their fulfillment. For example, Matthew records that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. That was prophesied in Micah 5:2, written 700 years before Christ. Matthew also records that Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Egypt to protect Him from Herod’s rampage. That was prophesied in Hosea 11. We find Herod launching an attack against the Hebrew children. That was prophesied in Jeremiah 31:11. Then we see Joseph and Mary returning to Israel to reside in Nazareth, predicted by Isaiah 700 years before the fact.

Matthew 2 explains how Jesus fulfilled all these prophecies. “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem” (v. 1). Who were these magi? They were scholars from the east, from Persia and Babylon. Daniel had taught the magi in Nebuchadnezzar’s court about the Scriptures that foretold of a coming Messiah. The magi passed down this knowledge for 500 years. That explains why the magi were interested in knowing about this Christ.

The magi came to Jerusalem saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him” (v. 2). Notice Herod’s response. “When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him” (v. 3). Herod was agitated about a rival king being born, so he asked his chief priests and scribes, where this Messiah would be born. They said, “In Bethlehem of Judea” (v. 5). They told Herod it was prophesied in Micah 5:2 that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

Can I point out something? These religious leaders knew the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, yet they wouldn’t walk a couple of miles to see the Son of God. It’s not that they were ignorant of Christ; they were just indifferent to the message of Christ. You see, the news of a Savior is really no news at all if you don’t feel like you need a Savior.

Herod was more interested in Jesus than the religious people were. He said to the magi, “Search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him” (v. 8). Right. “After hearing the king, they went their way … When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him” (vv. 9-11).

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “A Portrait of Two Kings” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.