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A Christmas Devotion: The Christmas Story Explained Part 2

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SIH STSTA ICONHere is part number two of our study of the birth of Christ as we find it in the book of Matthew.  If you remember, we had divided up the Matthew passages into two parts:

Part #1 – Matthew 1:18-2:10

Part #2 – Matthew 2:11-23


Matthew 2:11-23


When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.  When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

The identity of this star is up to much debate ranging from the planet Jupiter, to an alignment of planets, or perhaps a comet or meteor.  Different scientists and scholars hold to different views.

One thing, I think, is important to remember… it was possible for the Lord to miraculous create a light in the sky to lead His people.  Remember the “pillar of fire” that led the children of Israel through the wilderness? (Exo 13:21, 14:24, Num 14:14, Neh 9:12 etc.) Could it be that this star was a miraculous act of God prepared exclusively for this one time showing to lead men to Christ?

And when they were come into the house,

Note they come into “the house” not into the stable.  Joseph, Mary and the Baby were no longer in the stable by the time the wise men arrived at Bethlehem.  Most people believe that it took as long as 1-2 years for the wise men to travel from Persia to Bethlehem.  Keep in mind, Herod’s decree was to kill all babies 2 years and under.  Why two years?  Could it be that was approximately how long the star had been appearing in the sky?  And that was how long it took for the wise men to travel from the east?

they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

At the sight of the baby, the wise men kneel down in submission to Him… a sign of their belief in God’s prophecies and the baby being the Christ, their King.  The gifts that were given to Christ was significant.  In the Bible, many times gold is symbolic of kings (Dan 3:1).   Frankincense was used as incense for worship picturing our communion with God (prayers arising to God from earth – Ex 30:34)   The myrrh was used for the embalming of dead bodies (John 19:39).   These gifts teach us that the baby was a King, who was sinless having perfect communion with His Father, and he would taste death for His people.

And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

The wise men then departed to their country (probably Persia), being careful not to go through Jerusalem where Herod lived.  You can see where the Lord gave them wisdom to understand the true person of Christ and to see through the motives of Herod.

And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

God the Father continued to care for Jesus and His family by warning them of the decree of Herod.  Probably this was the same angel that had appeared to Joseph in Matthew 1:20.

When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

From Bethlehem they went to Egypt, trying to escape from the decree Herod had issued.  This was in fulfillment of the prophecy (probably Hosea 11:1.)

Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

Herod’s decree is issued and heinous death of infants resulted… this was in fulfillment of the prophecy found in Jeremiah 31:15.

But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.

Again, the Lord, through His angel,  directs the lives of this family by telling them to return to Israel at the death of Herod.

And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:

They return to Israel.  But Joseph would not enter into the province of Judaea because Herod’s son had now taken the throne of his father.  The Lord then directs them to the province of Galilee through the use of a dream.  Please notice how God had gone before this young family every step of the way, leading and guiding them, always for their protection and safety.

And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

They settled in the town of Nazareth which was Mary’s home town (Luke 1:26).  This would be the fulfillment of the prophecy found in Isa 53:2-3.  Nazareth was a despised city, those who were citizens were looked down upon (John 1:46).  By Christ being given the title Nazarene, he was being looked down upon and rejected by many, just as Isaiah 53:2-3 prophetically described Him.

Please note that in the account of Christ’s birth in Matthew, we find prophecies of His origins to range from He came from Bethlehem, He came out of Egypt and He would be called a Nazarene.  Before Christ’s coming to the earth, NO ONE could have reconciled these passages.  It looked as if He was going to be born in 3 different locations!  However, once He came to the earth and lived His life, all three of these prophecies made perfect sense.

It is much the same with futuristic prophecies for us today.  Great care needs to be taken thinking that we have all the events of the future figured out.  Until these events actually take place, none of us can say for certain, exactly what the future holds for us.

We will continue our study of the Christmas story by looking at the account from the book of Luke in our next blog entry.

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”


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  1. Patti (PJ) says:

    The Christmas Story is one I never get tired of hearing or reading. I wish people would spend as much time reading this story to their children as the do “The Night Before Christmas. Today, my Pastor’s message was on the People who will miss out or have missed out on Christmas because they were too busy. He spoke of the “innkeeper” who missed out on the birth of the Messiah because he was too busy. after all, there was no room for Mary and Joseph in the inn. Like he said, had the inn keeper known who it was Mary was pregnant with things probably would have been different, but he was too busy with his other guests to notice. After all, it was “tax time”. My pastor then mentioned others, but brought it up to modern day. Many of us are “too busy thinking about the preparations for the “holiday” such as decorations, food, buying our children’s gifts fighting the crowds and so on to think about the TRUE MEANING of Christmas. That, or thinking about working more than one job so they can afford to give little Johnnie that over priced toy “he just has to have” to keep up with the Jones’. It is truly very sad to think about how far away we have gotten from the real reasons of the celebrations of Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays.
    God Bless you for bringing the “Christmas Story” back to life for those who have gotten so wrapped up in the “commercial side of Christmas that they spend more time buying gifts, preparing food, and all of the “busy work” than they do for praising God for coming to earth to save us.
    God Bless!

    • Rob Barkman says:


      Sounds like your pastor had a great message this morning. It is so true… there are so many who can go through the entire holiday season and not even think about the Lord and His coming to the earth to save us from our sins and do the will of His Father.

      May the Lord bless you.

  2. The Christmas story (yes, we all call it a story even though it is TRUTH) is always new and full of wonder. In some ways it is beyond our comprehension but on the other hand it is also completely understood.
    We praise God for the wonderful work He has done in our lives but especially at Christmas our thoughts, prayers and yearnings turn to those who do not know Him.
    CHRISTmas can have no meaning without the Christ – as indeed life has no meaning without Him.

    • Rob Barkman says:

      So true… knowing the Christ of Christmas and then taking advantage of this season to share Him with others is the key to glorifying and honoring Him.

  3. Paul says:

    Reading again about the birth of Christ, I have never heard of so many dreams before and it was how God spoke to Joseph and the wise men and all this was to protect the Christ child. God had also spoke through prophets long ago in revealing His divine plan for man but is it not possible that the prophets might have understood what it all means. Many prophecies were fulfilled at that time. Only God knew the exact moment of time when He will execute His plans, not even the prophets knew when. Then suddenly, we see all these things happening, like the star that guided the three wise men to the Christ child. No ordinary stars can behave like that. Bible stories are incredible. In Christmas we remember the birth of Christ as we anticpate the second coming of Christ soon.

    • Rob Barkman says:


      I notice something new every time I go over the Christmas story… the Word is inexhaustible. The more we learn, the more there is to learn…
      BTW – you are not the only one looking forward to His second coming!

      Thanks for the comment… may the Lord continue to bless you.

  4. Patti (PJ) says:

    Rob, You are such a blessing to me. I love it when you come back with the scriptures of what I am trying to say. Even though I read my Bible, my poor little pea-sized brain doesn’t retain the Chapters and verse numbers. Most of the time, I “remember reading it somewhere in the Bible, and most of the time I will look it up or “try and find it, but I get flustered and end up paraphrasing what I remember. I don’t remember that one in James. Thank you for your scripture reminders. My brain doesn’t like to “retain” much at a time. LOL! You’ve always heard the expression “in one ear and out the other?” My hubby tells me that is my problem only with nothing to stop it in between. LOL! Anyway, thank you for your attentiveness to my posts and please keep the Scripture reminders coming. I hope someday I will be able to just automatically quote scriptures “chapter and verse”. I have a church friend that can almost do that. Well, here I go with another “book”. God Bless You . Oh! I listened to your YouTube lesson. I don’t usually like youtube because for some reason most of the time it takes forever to load, but your’s came up quickly. I really enjoyed it. I felt like you were actually giving me a person-person Bible study. Again, God Bless!


    • Rob Barkman says:


      Believe me, if it wasn’t for my computer Bible Concordance, I would be hopeless when it comes to remembering BIble verse references.
      I’m able to remember a phrase or two from alot of verses but to quote them word for word or to remember their reference is pretty hopeless for me.

      Glad you liked the Youtube videos… I’ve been really surprised at the responses. I thought alot of people who read my blog would use the Youtube as well and vice-versa; but not so. Those who like the blog, for the most part do not use yourtube and those who view my youtube videos, normally do not use my blog. Because of this, it seems as if the Lord has given me a whole new group of followers at youtube, when I started youtube to help those who were reading my blog. It just shows He sure knows whats best but alot of times I don’t !!!

      May the Lord bless you, PJ. As always thanks for the comments.


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