April 3 - Matthew 2
NOT THE HALLMARK VERSION: It's good to read the Christmas story sometime other than Christmas. Our culture has 'christmasized' the story so much that it's hard to find a nativity set or Christmas card that even somewhat accurately reflects the actual Biblical text. Reading it at this time of the year helps us get a better perspective. The story we read at the end of chapter 1 and into 2 is anything but sweet and sappy: two terrified young kids have a baby, likely in the closet of a stranger's house, and live for up to two years in a city that's not their home. Strange astrologers show up asking to see an otherwise unknown king, causing the local despot to savagely murder all of the male toddlers, causing this new young family to flee at night to the most unlikely of places, Egypt, where they hid out until the despot died, only to find out that his son was in charge now and they would have settle in a dusty, poor & looked down upon village called Nazareth. Merry Christmas.
JESUS IS NOT JUST A NEW TESTAMENT CHARACTER: Certainly Jesus doesn't physically appear until the New Testament (a phenomenon called incarnation. Notice the root 'carn' which you see in the word 'carnivore' or the Spanish word 'carne'. Incarnate means in the flesh). However, Jesus had been talked and written about for a long time in the Old Testament, which Matthew shows. He quotes the prophets Micah writing that Jesus would 'be a ruler who will come to shepherd my people Israel' (v6) and Hosea who foresaw Jesus returning to Israel from Egypt (v15), just like His ancestors did, and Jeremiah had predicted Herod's slaughter of children. Matthew finished this chapter by reminding his readers that Jesus was the fulfillment of prophecy the people had been waiting for.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our God controls all things, even when they don't appear to be going the way they're supposed to.
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Joseph is an excellent example of someone who aligned his life with God's will no matter what. Pray that you might be like him.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: