Scripture reading for October 3rd: Micah 3-7
Key Scriptures: Micah 5:2, 4-5 “”But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for Me One who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. . . . He will stand and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the Name of the Lord His God. And they will live securely, for then His greatness will reach to the ends of the earth and He will be their Peace.”
Micah was given prophetic insight concerning the coming ruler of Israel who would be born in the town of Bethlehem (House of Bread). This information came over 700 years before the special person would be born. In fact, this “Ruler” would be a shepherd to His people, bringing security and provision and most importantly, peace! This “Ruler” would indeed be famous in the entire earth!
Rejoicing in prophetic fulfillment: “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the One who has be born King of the Jews? We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him. . . . “In Bethlehem in Judea, they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a Ruler who will be the shepherd of My people Israel.'” (Matthew 2:1-2, 5-6)
Scripture reading for October 6th: Matthew 1-4
Four hundred years of silence had passed and God spoke again! He began fulfilling a number of prophesies that He gave over the years concerning His Son. A virgin, named Mary, gave birth to a son. (Matthew 1:22-23) This virgin and her betrothed husband, Joseph, were descendants of King David and their genealogy was traced back to Abraham. (Matthew 1:1-16) This “Son” was born in Bethlehem, fulfilling what the prophet Micah had predicted nearly 700 years earlier. (Matthew 2:6)
Gentile wise men came to worship Him who was born “King of the Jews.” They came to Judea and visited King Herod. Herod became jealous and ordered the destruction of all boys 2 years and younger. God had already intervened and warned Joseph and Mary to depart for Egypt. This fulfilled two other prophesies about Rachel weeping for her children and God calling His Son out of Egypt. (Matthew 2:15-18) When Joseph and Mary returned to Israel after Herod’s threat had passed, they settled in Nazareth. Jesus was called a “Nazarene” in fulfillment of Scripture!
The Book of Malachi ended with a promise from God that He would send Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord. (Malachi 4:5-6) Elijah’s message would turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers. Matthew recorded the ministry of John the Baptist preaching in the Desert of Judea and calling God’s people to repentance and water baptism. John was Jesus’ cousin and had a special call from God to prepare the way for His Son. (Matthew 3:1-3) This also fulfilled a prophesy given by Isaiah! (Isaiah 40:3)
John the Baptist spoke plainly to the religious leaders who came to ridicule him. He warned them that one was coming who would not just baptize with water, but with the Holy Spirit and fire! (Matthew 3:7-11) As Jesus was baptized by John, many witnessed an amazing confirmation of Jesus Christ the Son of God! “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went out of the water. At that moment heaven opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.”Matthew 3:16-17
Scripture reading for October 6th: Matthew 1-4
As we begin the New Testament, we are immediately made aware of Jesus Christ the son of David and son of Abraham! (Matthew 1:1) Matthew’s eye-witness account of the life of Jesus Christ starts with a genealogy of Jesus from Abraham to Joseph. There are 42 generations listed in this period of about 2000 years of history. Jesus is the central figure of the entire Bible and especially the New Testament. His birth, life on earth, sacrificial death, and resurrection from the dead are told by Matthew specifically for a Jewish audience who would appreciate the Old Testament and the various prophecies that Jesus fulfilled.
“Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel, which means, “God is with us”. (Matthew 1:20b-23) (Isaiah 7:14) We are introduced to a miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit uniting with a virgin named Mary. The child would be a son to be given the name “Jesus” which means “the Lord Saves”. This child would also be referred to as “Immanuel” which is “God with us”! All of this was foretold 700 years earlier by Isaiah the prophet. This conception nearly caused Joseph to call off the marriage! Imagine his surprise to find his promised bride pregnant! God visited him in a dream with an angel messenger to give him insight into the plan of God.
It so happened that Joseph and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem to pay taxes and during that visit Jesus was born. This was also no accident! “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 be the shepherd of My people Israel”. (Matthew 2:6) (Micah 5:2) Micah had spoken of the town in Judah where this ruler would originate. Bethlehem means “house of bread”. Jesus would be the living bread to nourish the whole world! God’s plans are established forever!