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Matthew 2:4-6

Great Expectations

4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

I believe that one of the most perplexing issues in scripture is the rejection of Jesus by the Jewish people. There seems to be little chance that any one living during that day would not be certain of His identity as the Messiah. In this passage alone, we can see an abundance of evidence that the Jewish religious leaders recognized who He was, even before He was two years old.

First, there is Herod, an Edomite sitting on the throne of Judah. The well known passage in Genesis 49:10 states that "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be." The sceptre was the symbol of power. There would not be a Gentile king sitting on the throne of Judah until "Shiloh" (the Messiah) should come.

Now Herod, the Edomite, sat on the throne and even He had to recognize that the time for the arrival of the Messiah was right. It scared him and he was determined to do something about it. The gathering of all the chief priests and scribes demonstrated that he understood the expectations that the people held concerning the Christ. He demanded of them the name of the place where the "Christ" was to be born. You see, Herod knew who he was dealing with in the person of this child, probably not that the child was actually God incarnate, but surely that He was sent by God.

We also see that the Jewish leaders had no difficulty identifying the place where the Christ was to be born. They quoted directly from Micah 5:2. They knew all of the prophecies and they knew that they were being fulfilled right before their eyes.

Thirty years later a Pharisee named Nicodemus would approach Jesus. "The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him." Who does he refer to as "we", if not the Pharisees or the Sanhedrin of which he was a member? They knew! They knew and yet, they denied Him, rejected Him, and crucified Him. How?! How could they do that?

Knowledge is nothing without heart. If our knowledge of Christ does not lead us to a life changing encounter with Him, we will remain blind. We must never forget that, if we are going to be a part of His kingdom. It is not how much we know about Him, but how much we love Him and trust Him.

The leaders knew all about the Messiah, yet cared so little for Him that they were willing to tell Herod where he was to be found. I wonder how many of their sons died in the holocaust that followed.

Before The Throne:

Do you love Him? Pray that God will turn your knowledge into love and understanding. Ask for a heart that is passionately alive with His love. Pray that you could remain faithful to Him in even the smallest of things. Ask Him to help you open the eyes and hearts of your family and friends to the real Jesus Christ.

For Further Study:

(v.4) ** the chief. Matt 21:15, 23; Matt 26:3, 47; Matt 27:1; 1Chr 24:4-19; 2Chr 36:14; Ezra 10:5; Neh 12:7; Ps 2:2; John 7:32; John 18:3; ** scribes. Matt 7:29; Matt 13:52; 2Chr 34:13, 15; Ezra 7:6, 11-12; Jer 8:8; Mark 8:31; Luke 20:19; Luke 23:10; John 8:3; Acts 4:5; Acts 6:12; Acts 23:9; ** he demanded. Mal 2:7; John 3:10;

(v.5) ** Gen 35:19; Josh 19:15; Ruth 1:1, 19; Ruth 2:4; Ruth 4:11; 1Sam 16:1;

(v.6) ** thou. Matt 2:1; Mic 5:2; John 7:42; ** a Governor. Matt 28:18; Gen 49:10; Num 24:19; 1Chr 5:2; Ps 2:1-6; Isa 9:6-7; Eph 1:22; Col 1:18; Rev 2:27; Rev 11:15; ** rule. or, feed. Ps 78:71-72; Isa 40:11; Jer 23:4-6; Ezek 34:23-25; Ezek 37:24-26;

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