Matthew 2: Where is the King? The Shepherd Who Guards and Leads His Flock

In Matthew chapter 2, we have the good, the bad and the ugly. We have Jesus born in Bethlehem of Judea, the same city where King David was from. Both his parents were from David’s lineage so He fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies. Three of them are quoted here. This is the good.

Then we have jealous King Herod who wouldn’t hear of another “King of the Jews”. He’s the bad. The ugly is what he did. He figures that if he kills all the male children under two years old, he probably will be rid of the problem. But God, with His divine intervention, comes to the rescue in dreams. Let’s dig in….

Matthew 2

Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”

King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”

“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:

‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah,
    are not least among the ruling cities of Judah,
for a ruler will come from you
    who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”[Micah 5:2, 2 Samuel 5:2]

Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”

After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

12 When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.

The Escape to Egypt

13 After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

14 That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, 15 and they stayed there until Herod’s death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my Son out of Egypt.” [Hosea 11:1]

16 Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men’s report of the star’s first appearance. 17 Herod’s brutal action fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

18 “A cry was heard in Ramah—
    weeping and great mourning.
Rachel weeps for her children,
    refusing to be comforted,
    for they are dead.” [Jeremiah 31:15]

The Return to Nazareth

19 When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. 20 “Get up!” the angel said. “Take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead.”

21 So Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and his mother. 22 But when he learned that the new ruler of Judea was Herod’s son Archelaus, he was afraid to go there. Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for the region of Galilee. 23 So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophets had said: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

Matthew 2 NLT

Points to Ponder

Joseph leads Mary with Baby Jesus away from King Herod's madness to Egypt. Graphic by Good News Productions International via, (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
Joseph leads Mary with Baby Jesus away from King Herod’s madness to Egypt. Graphic by Good News Productions International via, (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
  • The Old Testament prophets predicted everything about Jesus’ birth. They called him a shepherd. A shepherd leads, as well as guards and protects his flock.
  • It’s possible to know the Word of God, but fail to act on it. The “religious leaders” should have gone with the Magi to worship their new King.
  • The Magi bowed down to the new King. They acknowledged His royal birthright.
  • The 3 gifts: Gold – representing royalty; Frankincense – used for worship; Myrrh – a burial spice used for anointing the body of the deceased. Signifying that Jesus is King, God and Defier of Death.
  • Herod represented the dark world that Jesus came to save.
  • God intervened with dreams first to the Magi, telling them not to return to Herod; to Joseph telling him to flee to Egypt right away; and later after Herod died, telling him to come back; then later to not stay in Judea, but to settle in Nazareth.

Questions for You….

  • Are you allowing Jesus to be the Shepherd of YOUR life?
  • Do you read the Bible, but fail to act on it?
  • Are you allowing the dark world rule your life?
  • Do you trust God to intervene in your life?
  • Are you truly walking in the Light?

If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, feel His Shalom — a peace that surpasses all understanding, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace, Joy, Peace, and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

Shepherd of My Soul

Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!

Top graphic by Good News Productions International via, (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)