Summary: In Jesus, you have a Messiah who understands what you’re going through.
The Messiah Who Understands
Text: Matt. 2:1-23
1. Illustration: A man put up a sign in his yard that read: "Puppies for Sale." Among those who came to inquire was a young boy. "Please, Mister," he said, "I’d like to buy one of your puppies if they don’t cost too much." "Well, son, they’re $25." The boy looked crushed. "I’ve only got two dollars and five cents. Could I see them anyway?" "Of course. Maybe we can work something out," said the man. The lad’s eyes danced at the sight of those five little balls of fur. "I heard that one has a bad leg," he said. "Yes, I’m afraid she’ll be crippled for life." "Well, that’s the puppy I want. Could I pay for her a little at a time?" The man responded, "But she’ll always have a limp." Smiling bravely, the boy pulled up one pant leg, revealing a brace. "I don’t walk good either." Then, looking at the puppy sympathetically, he continued, "I guess she’ll need a lot of love and help. I sure did. It’s not so easy being crippled." "Here, take her," said the man. "I know you’ll give her a good home. And just forget the money."
2. Often we ask the question, "Does anyone understand what I am going through?"
a. Does anyone understand my hurt?
b. Does anyone understand my rejection?
c. Does anyone understand my temptations?
3. Today we are beginning a new series on the Gospel of Matthew.
a. Matthew was writing to a Jewish audience, and his purpose was to show Jesus as the long awaited Messiah of Israel.
b. However, we also learn from the portrait that Matthew gives us of Jesus that he is able to relate to our difficulties because he has been there before us.
c. Hebrews 4:15 (NLT)
This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.
4. Jesus understands when:
a. Life isn’t fair
b. Life slaps you in the face
c. Life throws you a curve
5. Read Matt. 2:1-23
Proposition: In Jesus, you have a Messiah who understands what you’re going through.
Transition: One thing that Jesus understands that...
I. Sometimes Life Isn’t Fair (1-12)
A. Herod Was Deeply Disturbed
1. Matthew tells us that "Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod."
a. Herod the Great ruled from 37-4 BC, and is know as "The Great" because of the great building campaigns he initiated. The most important of these was the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem.
b. However, he was also known for being paranoid and ruthless toward anyone he saw as a threat.
c. The list of those he had executed included his own wife and children.
2. At the same time, "some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”
a. The term "wise men," more appropriately, "Magi" (magos, "magician") originally referred to a priestly caste in ancient Persia.
b. Magi were usually leading figures in the religious court life of their country of origin, employing a variety of scientific (astrology), diplomatic (wisdom), and religious (magical incantations) elements in their work (Wilkins, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: Matthew, 93).
c. They made the assumption that the new born King of the Jews would have been born in the palace, a logical conclusion.
d. As you can imagine this was not seen as good news to the paranoid King Herod.
3. We can see this in v. 3, "King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem."
a. News of a new born king, one that he knew nothing about, made Herod nervous.
b. Anything that made Herod nervous made everyone else nervous, because if the King wasn’t happy, nobody was happy.
4. Herod "called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”
a. Another reason that this news made Herod nervous was the fact that he would be from the line of David, and the Jews never really accepted him as king because he was not Jewish.
b. If he could figure our where he was to be born, he could find him and take care of his problem.
c. After finding out that the Messiah was born he called the magi back to find out when he was born.
d. You can see him narrowing down the possiblities.
5. He tells the magi, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”