JESUS CHRIST: THE BABY, THE BOY AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Read Chapters 1 and 2 from the Gospel of Matthew, again before reading below
Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit through an act of God his father and carried in the womb of a virgin named Mary. His earthly father was Joseph a fair and just man who became a major instrument used by God to ensure that Jesus Christ would be a Son of David.
There is not much written, that is reliable, about the boyhood of Jesus but we know from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke how important his birth and early months of life were to future of the world. Now we will look at the important and necessary birth and childhood of Jesus the Christ when the Kingdom of God really was at hand!
Please read the following excerpts of the birth of Jesus the Christ from the Smith Bible Dictionary and some points from the New Interpreters Bible
THE EARLY LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST
Jesus, having a manger at Bethlehem for his cradle, received a visit of adoration from the three wise men of the East. At forty days old he was taken to the temple at Jerusalem; and returning to Bethlehem, was soon taken to Egypt to escape Herod’s massacre of the infants there. After a few months stay there, Herod having died in April, B.C. 4, the family returned to their Nazareth home, where Jesus lived till he was about thirty years old, subject to his parent, and increasing “in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” The only incident recorded of his early life is his going up to Jerusalem to attend the passover when he was twelve years old, and his conversation with the learned men in the temple. But we can understand the childhood and youth of Jesus better when we remember the surrounding influences amid which he grew.
1. The natural scenery was rugged and mountainous, but full of beauty. He breathed the pure air. He lived in a village, not in a city.
2. The Roman dominion was irksome and galling. The people of God were subject to a foreign yoke. The taxes were heavy. Roman soldiers, laws, money, everything reminded them of their subjection, when they ought to be free and themselves the rulers of the world. When Jesus was ten years old, there was a great insurrection, Acts 5:37, in Galilee. He who was to be King of the Jews heard and felt all this.
3. The Jewish hopes of a Redeemer, of throwing off their bondage, of becoming the glorious nation promised in the prophet, were in the very air he breathed. The conversation at home and in the streets was full of them.
4. Within his view, and his boyish excursions, were many remarkable historic places, — rivers, hills, cities, plains, — that would keep in mind the history of his people and God’s dealings with them.
5. His school training. Mr. Deutsch, in the Quarterly Review, says, “Eighty years before Christ, schools flourished throughout the length and the breadth of the land: education had been made compulsory. While there is not a single term for ‘school’ to be found before the captivity, there were by that time about a dozen in common usage. Here are a few of the innumerable popular sayings of the period: ‘Jerusalem was destroyed because the instruction of the young was neglected.’ ‘The world is only saved by the breath of the school-children.’ ‘Even for the rebuilding of the temple the schools must not be interrupted.'”
6. His home training. According to Ellicott, the stages of Jewish childhood were marked as follows: “At three the boy was weaned, and word for the first time the fringed or tasselled garment prescribed by Num 15:38-41, and Deut 22:12 His education began at first under the mother’s care. At five he was to learn the law, at first by extracts written on scrolls of the more important passages, the Shema or creed of Deut 2:4, the Hallel or festival psalms, Ps 114; 118; 136, and by catechetical teaching in school. At twelve he became more directly responsible for his obedience of the law; and on the day when he attained the age of thirteen, put on for the first time the phylacteries which were worn at the recital of his daily prayer.” In addition to this, Jesus no doubt learned the carpenter’s trade of his reputed father Joseph, and, as Joseph probably died before Jesus began his public ministry, he may have contributed to the support of his mother.
(from Smith’s Bible Dictionary, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
CLASH OF THE TITANS!
Only Room for One King at a Time!
Every king must have a kingdom. At the time of Jesus’ birth Herod the Great was king of Judea and was ruthless ruler who abused his own people the Jews. When the Wise Men from the East came to Jerusalem looking for Jesus they asked in Matthew 2:2 “Where is the one who has been born king of Jews?” This question announced the beginning of the Clash of the Titans. It is important to note that the three Wise Men who were Gentiles, accepted Jesus as Messiah but his own people rejected him. Scripture says in Matthew 2:3 that this question disturbed Herod the Great and “all Jerusalem with him.”
As king of Judea and the ruler of the Jews Herod the Great was outraged that a new king had come to his kingdom. As king, Herod’s kingdom was the same area that Jesus as Messiah was coming to save. Because of this perceived threat to his kingdom, he plotted to kill the Baby Jesus. The plot failed but Herod’s brutality cost the lives of many babies in Jerusalem.
The birth of Jesus Christ signaled the coming of the “Kingdom of God” in that God’s kingdom was being ushered in by his only begotten son. Jesus’ birth was considered by Herod the Great as the birth of a new king. Of course, Herod the Great did not want another king in his kingdom which led him to oppose Jesus. This opposition from Herod was an example of this world’s refusal to accept Jesus the Christ as Savior of the world.
Herod tried to kill Jesus by issuing an order to kill all babies in Jerusalem who may have been near Jesus’ age. This plot failed because an angel had already warned Joseph to take Jesus and his mother to Egypt to escape death at the hands of Herod’s soldiers. The family stayed in Egypt until Herod the Great died. So the Kingdom of God won the first round in the battle between kingdoms.