Life-Study of Matthewby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
We come now to chapter two of Matthew. In the previous messages we have covered the genealogy of Christ and the birth of Christ. In this message we shall consider the youth of Christ.
If we pay attention to the four Gospels, we shall see that John and Mark contain no record of Christ’s youth. John tells us that Christ is God. With God there is neither youth nor old age. God is ancient, yet unchanging. Thus, there is no problem of youth with God. In Mark, Christ is revealed as a slave. No one cares about the youth of a slave. On the contrary, both Luke and Matthew record the youth of Christ. However, as was the case with the genealogies, there is a difference between these two records of Christ’s youth.
The Gospel of Luke proves that Christ was a perfect man. Hence, Luke’s record testifies and demonstrates the humanity of Jesus (Luke 2:21-52). The items of Christ’s youth recorded by Luke show that Jesus was a proper, normal man. Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day according to Jewish law (Luke 2:21). Also, according to Jewish custom, He was named Jesus on the eighth day, not on the first day. He was offered to God with the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons (Luke 2:22-24). The fact that Mary and Joseph could only afford a small sacrifice shows that they were poor. They nevertheless fulfilled the requirement of the law. Furthermore, Jesus was brought to Jerusalem every year at the time of the feast of the Passover (Luke 2:41). This was also according to the law requiring that all Israelite males attend the feasts three times a year. Luke specifically notes that Jesus was brought to the feast when He was twelve years old (Luke 2:42). Luke also records that Jesus grew physically, that He became strong in His spirit, and that He found favor with God and man (Luke 2:40, 52). All these items recorded by Luke demonstrate that Jesus was a typical man.
Matthew’s record demonstrates that the young Jesus was the King of God’s people (2:1-23). Luke did not include this point, but Matthew, ignoring all the points covered by Luke, dwells on it. By this we see that the Bible has an intention: in Luke it is to prove that Jesus was a man; in Matthew it is to show that Jesus was a kingly child. We shall now consider Matthew’s record to see how Jesus was such a kingly child.
We should not try to understand the Bible by the black and white letters alone. We must enter into it and find something of life in it. Matthew 1 tells us that the Old Testament contained prophecies concerning Christ and that the people of God were waiting for His coming. In Matthew 1 Jesus came. Christ has been brought into humanity; He has appeared on the earth. Chapter two continues by showing the way to find Christ. His coming was prophesied, He has come, and He is here. However, there is the problem of how to find Him.
Matthew 1 reveals that Jesus, the Messiah, has come. If you had been an Israelite at that time, you would have said, “You tell me Jesus has come, but how can I find Him?” Thank the Lord that the matter of finding Jesus was not initiated by us: it was initiated by God.
Consider the background. At the time of Jesus’ birth, there was a religion called Judaism. It was a fundamental, sound, scriptural religion that was formed, organized, and constituted according to the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament. Through the record of Matthew 2, we see that Judaism was very much for the Bible. However, hardly anyone in that religion knew that Christ had come. We find no record in the New Testament that some of those religious people went to find Christ. On the contrary, there is a record that some pagan men, magi, came to find Him (2:1-12). Of course, this was initiated by God, not by them.
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