“One Who Is Ruler In Israel” (Luke 2: 1, 4 – 5; ESV) by Carley Evans


Close to Mary’s ninth month of pregnancy, Caesar Augustus conducts a world census. “And all go to be registered, each to his own town.” (Luke 2: 3) Because he is of the house of David, Joseph takes Mary from his home in Nazareth to Bethlehem, known as the city of David.

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for Me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore He shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of His brothers shall return to the people of Israel. And He shall stand and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the Name of the Lord His God. And they shall dwell secure, for now He shall be great to the ends of the earth. And He shall be their peace.” (Micah 5: 2 – 5)

While in Bethlehem, Mary goes into labor and gives birth to a son — a son whom Pontius Pilate labels atop a wooden cross: “The King of the Jews.”

“Wise And Foolish Men” (Matthew 2: 4 – 6, ESV) by Carley Evans


Herod the king hears that wise men from the east are searching for the one “who has been born king of the Jews.” These men have traveled to Jerusalem, saying: “for we saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him.” Herod and “all Jerusalem with him” worry. (Matthew 2: 2, 3)

Herod brings together “all the chief priests and scribes of the people” and asks “where the Christ was to be born.” (Matthew 2: 3) Oddly enough, the chief priests and scribes correctly identify the Messiah’s birthplace as Bethlehem.

In fear for his throne, Herod secretly meets with the wise men and instructs them to find the Christ child in Bethlehem. He lies, saying that he wants to worship the Messiah, too. The wise men set out; the star appears and “goes before them until it comes to rest over the place where the child is.” (Matthew 2: 9) They come to the house where Jesus is with His mother Mary. The wise men fall down and worship the Christ child. A dream warns them not to return to Herod, and they obey. Each returns to his own country.

Joseph is then also warned in a dream by an angel of the Lord, who tells him to take Mary and Jesus and flee to Egypt. Joseph obeys.

“Then Herod, when he sees that he has been tricked by the wise men, becomes furious.” (Matthew 2: 16) He kills all the male children in Bethlehem and surrounding region who are two years or younger “according to the time he has ascertained from the wise men” and their report of the star’s appearance.

“A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, for they are no more.” (Matthew 2: 18)

When Herod dies, Joseph obeys the angel of the Lord again, settling his family in Nazareth of Galilee. “He [the Messiah] shall be called a Nazarene.” (Matthew 2: 23)