Truly we serve a God who is creative and wondrously imaginative. One can see this in the beauty and diversity of the animal kingdoms, the breathtaking beauty of nature, and the glories of the heavens. Though the phrase, ‘God works in mysterious ways’ is not in the bible, it is a truism. Personally, this is one of the attributes of God I cherish most. I am encouraged as I reflect on the truth that God can use anyone, to do anything, at anytime. He can rescue anybody from anything. There are no limits and no boundaries when it comes to how God works and what He can do.
This truth is one of the pillars of the Gospel of Matthew. On this great pillar of truth Matthew presents his case that Jesus is the Messiah promised in the Old Testament. Overriding the objections of Matthew’s audience (that Jesus somehow did not well fit the part of the promised Messiah) is the truth that God works in mysterious and amazing ways. Matthew uses this wondrous truth as kind-of foundation upon which he notes the amazing way Jesus came, His amazing works, His amazing sacrifice and His amazing resurrection. In chapter 2, Matthew sets the stage for the most amazing story every told by creatively noting how God’s working is not bound by human preconceptions.
My prayer is that this teaching will encourage and impart hope as individuals reflect on what God can do for and through you in the days to come.
UNUSUAL HAPPENINGS (Chapters 1-2)
Conception and Birth of Jesus (Matthew 1)
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. 20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” 24 And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, 25 but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.
- The timing was unusual, but was of God
- The conception was unusual, but was of God
- The prophecy was unusual but was of God
The Magi Visit the Messiah
1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” 7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
- The location was unusual, but was of God
- The visit of the Magi was unusual, but they were led of God
- The gifts were unusual, but were of special significance to God
The Escape to Egypt
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” 16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” (Jer. 31:15)
- The dream was unusually vague, but was of God
- The prophecy was unusual, but was from God
- Herod’s response was unusual given the fact that the message and counsel he received was from God