Did you ever think about the parallels between the biblical story of Ruth and Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth? In Small Faith, Great God, one Bible scholar notes: “The city of David, which Ruth and Naomi reached without hope except in God, became the birthplace of the Son of God in whom all the nations would hope. That is why the kings of the world came, at Epiphany, to the city of David—to pay homage to great David’s greater Son. In doing so, they followed Ruth exactly, in coming as foreigners to acknowledge Israel’s God, Naomi’s God, as the one who is sovereign over all human affairs.”
Jesus the Messiah came as part of God’s plan for Israel and for the world (Luke 2:6; Acts 2:36). The Gentile magi, upon their unexpected and very public arrival in Jerusalem, asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?” (Luke 2:2). Herod was disturbed (v. 3), because to him the coming Messiah-King represented a potential change in the political status quo. He liked the status quo, in which he held a decent amount of power.
Resident Bible scholars knew, based on a prophecy of Micah, the birthplace of the Messiah—Bethlehem, the city of David, about six miles south of Jerusalem (vv. 5–6). The magi went there and were led by the star straight to the house with the child Jesus (vv. 9–11). “Overjoyed” at the fulfillment of their quest, “they bowed down and worshiped him” (vv. 10, 11). They also presented Him gifts worthy of a king.
Herod lied to the magi, but God warned them of his deception so they could return home another way (v. 12). How did they know the one true God and the prophecy of a Messiah? Only God knows that full story!
There’s no better time than Christmas to learn more about Jesus! Earlier this year, The Moody Handbook of Messianic Prophecy was released, edited by Michael Rydelnik (who is an author in our Q&A section) and Edwin Blum. If you enjoy learning about biblical prophecy, you may want to add this book to your personal library.
We praise Christ today as the Messiah of Israel, the one whom the prophets of the Old Testament were waiting for. And now, as people living on this side of the Cross, we pray we live the lives worthy of our Messiah, in anticipation of His Second Coming.