from the East

Matthew 2:1-12

Good News Translation (GNT)

1 Jesus was born
  in the town of Bethlehem
  in Judea, during the time
  when Herod was king.
  Soon afterward,
  some men who studied
  the stars came from
  the East to Jerusalem
2 and asked,
 "Where is the baby
  born to be the king
  of the Jews?
  We saw his star when it
  came up in the east,
  and we have come
  to worship him."
3 When King Herod heard
  about this, he was very upset,
  and so was everyone else
  in Jerusalem.
4 He called together all
  the chief priests and the
  teachers of the Law
  and asked them,
 "Where will the Messiah
  be born?"
5 "In the town of Bethlehem
  in Judea," they answered.
 "For this is what the prophet wrote:
6 'Bethlehem in the land of Judah,
  you are by no means
  the least of the leading
  cities of Judah;
  for from you will come
  a leader who will guide
  my people Israel.'
7 So Herod called the visitors
  from the East to a secret
  meeting and found out from them
  the exact time the star
  had appeared.
8 Then he sent them to
  Bethlehem with these instructions:
 "Go and make a careful search
  for the child;
  and when you find him,
  let me know,
  so that I too may go
  and worship him."
9-10 And so they left,
  and on their way they saw
  the same star they had seen
  in the East.
  When they saw it,
  how happy they were,
  what joy was theirs!
  It went ahead of them
  until it stopped over the place
  where the child was.
11 They went into the house,
  and when they saw the child
  with his mother Mary,
  they knelt down and worshiped him.
  They brought out their gifts
  of gold, frankincense,
  and myrrh, and presented
  them to him.
12 Then they returned
  to their country by
  another road, since God
  had warned them in a dream
  not to go back to Herod.

Taken from
'The Applied New Testament
 Commentary' (Kingsway)

The Visit of the Magi

Matthew 2:1-12

Bethlehem was a small town
in the province of Judea
(southern Israel)
about five miles from Jerusalem.

It was the town where King David
had been born.
Although Joseph and Mary lived
in the town of Nazareth
in the northern province
of Galilee,
they had gone down to
Bethlehem to register
for the census,
because they were
descendants of King David.

This census took place
during the reign of King Herod
a puppet ruler who had been
given the title "King of the Jews"
by the Roman Emperor.

Herod's kingdom was part
of the Roman Empire
and included the province
of Judea and its capital Jerusalem.

Herod reigned from
40BC to 4AD.

At the time of Jesus' birth,
some Magi, or astrologers,
from the east saw a very bright
and unusual star
rising in the east.

They interpreted this to be
a sign that a great king
had been born.

These astrologers knew that
the Jews were expecting
a Messiah to come,
so they travelled to Jerusalem,
the Jewish capital,
thinking that the Messiah
had now been born.

"Where is the one who
has been born king
of the Jews?" they asked.

King Herod was not happy
to hear that there was now
another "king of the Jews"
besides himself.

Matthew repeatedly reminds us
that the Christ was indeed
born a king,
who would inherit
the kingdom of David.

The Jews thought that this
would be an earthly kingdom.
However, He came to establish
a spiritual kingdom.

According to the prophecy
of Micah, this Christ,
or Messiah, was to be born
in Bethlehem.

Here in verse 6,
through the prophet Micah,
God says from you will come
a leader who will guide
my people Israel, or,
"He will be the shepherd
of my people Israel"
(see John 10:11; 1 Peter 5:4).

Israel is the name
of the Jewish nation.

Herod asked the astrologers
to find out where Jesus
had been born so he could go
and worship him.

Of course, he really intended
to go and kill Him.

The amazing star led the
astrologers right to the place
where Jesus was.
No doubt they were surprised
to find the king of the Jews
born in such
humble circumstances.

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