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Jesus' Childhood ~ Jerry Bridges

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Jesus' Childhood ~ Jerry Bridges Empty Jesus' Childhood ~ Jerry Bridges

Post  Admin on Tue 28 Feb 2012, 9:29 pm

Jesus' Childhood
Jerry Bridges

Matthew 2,
along with a few verses in
Luke 2 ,
provides all the historical data we have concerning the early childhood of
Jesus. And since the writers of the Gospels were masters of brevity and
understatement,

Matthew 2
fairly bristles with questions we long to have answered. Among them we'd
like to know more about the wise men, the star they saw, and how they
connected
it to the one who was born king of the Jews. Obviously, if the Holy Spirit
had wanted us to have more information, He would have guided Matthew to
include
it. So rather than being distracted by unanswered questions, we should look
for the main purpose of the passage. What does the Holy Spirit want us to
learn?

First, Jesus was sent, not only to be king of the Jews but also of the
Gentiles. The wise men were prestigious and wealthy members of their Gentile
society,
so it was fitting that our Lord's birth would be announced to them as king
of the Jews. This announcement anticipated the glorious day when the great
commission
to "make disciples of all nations" (
Matt. 28:19)
would be fulfilled and "all the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to
the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you" (

Ps. 22:27).

To the Gentiles He is announced as king and to the shepherds as Savior.
Perhaps this was God's way of announcing that Jesus was sent to be both
Savior and
king to both Jews and Gentiles, and to all levels of society from the lowest
to the greatest.

But before the throne there would be the cross. And before the cross there
would be a lifetime of suffering and humiliation. The wise men who worshiped
Jesus had no sooner left than Joseph, Mary, and Jesus had to flee to Egypt
to escape the sword of Herod. And when they did return to Israel, the town
of
Bethlehem was still not safe, forcing them to return to the city of
Nazareth. So, instead of being known as a child of the royal city of King
David's Bethlehem,
Jesus grew up to be known as a Nazarene. Being called a Nazarene was not
just a means of geographical identification, such as being called a New
Englander.
It was actually a demeaning term since Nazareth apparently had a bad
reputation as evidenced by Nathaniel's sincere question: "Can anything good
come out
of Nazareth?" (
John 1:46).
Being called a Nazarene then was like saying he came from "the other side of
the tracks." Thus, Isaiah's prophecy that "he was despised and rejected by
men...he was despised and we esteemed him not" (
Isa. 53:3)
began to be fulfilled even in His childhood.

Matthew records four specific incidents from the early childhood of Jesus,
and he is careful to point out that all four incidents - the birth of Jesus
in
Bethlehem, the flight of the family to Egypt, the killing of the small boys
and the final settlement of the family in Nazareth - occurred in fulfillment
of prophetic utterances (see
Matt. 2:5-6,
15-17,
23 ).
Though Matthew's purpose at the time was to prove that Jesus was the
fulfillment of Old Testament expectations concerning the Messiah, these
prophecies
should also give us confidence in God's prophetic promises about events yet
to unfold, such as the return of Christ, the resurrection, and the ushering
in of the new heavens and the new earth. What God has predicted
prophetically, He will certainly bring to pass in His time.

The details of the actual fulfillment of the four prophecies concerning
Jesus would have surprised us all. Who would have imagined that Joseph and
Mary
would journey all the way from Nazareth to Bethlehem in response to a Roman
decree so that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem - not Nazareth where
he was conceived? Who would have guessed that
Hosea 11:1,
which referred originally to the exodus from Egypt, would have a further
fulfillment in the life of Jesus? Or that
Jeremiah 31:15
written at the time of the Babylonian exile would be fulfilled in the
killing of the small boys of Bethlehem. Who could have predicted the events
that caused
Joseph finally to settle in Nazareth in fulfillment of Scripture?

So let us hold our various views of end time events with humility. That
those events will occur is something we can be certain of. But our views as
to how
those events will unfold are, for the most part, only speculation. So let's
hold our views with humility and practice love and acceptance toward those
who hold other views.

A good rule for us all would be to focus not on the more speculative parts
of the Bible such as unanswered questions and unfulfilled prophecy, but on
that
which is clearly taught - that Christ is both Savior and king. As Savior He
was despised and rejected and crucified for our sins, and as king He is to
rule in each of our lives as both Savior and Lord.

block quote
Dr. Jerry Bridges is an author and speaker, as well as a part-time staff
member with The Navigators in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
block quote end

INTO the WORD daily Bible studies from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies.
Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.
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