February 20, 2017
From the desk of A.J. Higgins
The Young Child and His Mother
“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother … and worshiped Him … they presented unto Him gifts … “
Matthew 2 is the account, not so much of the birth of the Lord Jesus (that was left to Dr. Luke), but of the visit of the wise men to the young child, and of the malevolent attempt of Herod to take His life. The wickedness of Herod is frustrated by the worship of wise men; at the close of His earthly life, Mary’s worship will frustrate the wicked plans of chief priests and scribes (Matt 26:1-16).
In the account given to us in Matthew 2, there are at least five occasions when the expression, “the young child and His mother” occurs. In each instance, the Spirit of God preserves the order; it is the young child first, and then His mother is mentioned. Preeminence is always afforded Him by the Spirit of God, even as a young child. God has ultimately one sole purpose: “That in all things He might become preeminent” (Col 1:18 Newb)
In the first instance of its usage in verse 11, it is noteworthy that they saw Him, and not so much the honored couple, Joseph and Mary. They had eyes primarily for Him. And it was Him they worshiped. The previous verses tell us of their joy at seeing the star; but joy is eclipsed by worship when they saw Him. We, as well, rejoice in God’s goodness to us in the circumstances of life, but worship for Him transcends joy over our own circumstances.
The remaining occurrences of the expression, “the young child and His mother” (vv 13, 14, 20, 21), all relate to His welfare and not to His worship. In these verses, the angel of the Lord is directing Joseph as to his movements to guard the young child’s safety. Again, in each instance, it is the “young child” first, and then His mother. God was certainly not indifferent to the safety of Mary and Joseph, but He is overseeing the safety of the Son who was “cast upon Thee (Him) from the womb” (Ps 22:10).
The Lord Jesus came into a world marked by terrorism, tyranny, and danger. Yet He came in lowliness as a babe, leaving HIs physical welfare in the hands of His Father. Inherently possessing all power, He nevertheless displayed the dependence of a babe and moved in the pathway of faith.
Matthew highlights the activity of his earthly legal father, Joseph. But it is obvious to the reader that there is a Father in heaven Who is directing all and frustrating the evil attempts of men against His Son.
What honor and pleasure it must have been to His heart, to finally see a Man on earth who was totally dependent on Him and willing to trust Him in every step of life! This is why the Hebrew writer could speak of Him as the “author and finisher” or perfecter of the life of faith (Heb 12:2).
1. If you look up the word “saw” in verse 11, you will discover it means “found.” Trace the first occurrence in which men “found” Christ in each Gospel account. For example, In John look at 1:41, 45.
2. Why do you think Matthew so frequently and almost exclusively refers to the Lord Jesus in chapter 2 as “the young child?” It is it stress His total dependence on His Father amidst the dangerous world into which He has come?
3. How did Mary’s anointing in Matthew 26 nullify the one stipulation the chief priests made as to the crucifixion of Christ (v 5)?