The Berean Expositor
Volume 52 - Page 69 of 207
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Child, and opening their "caskets" (treasures), they give Him gold, frankincense and
myrrh. There have been many comments on the mystical meaning of these gifts from the
earliest centuries, but doubtless the gold typifies His Deity. The frankincense with its
fragrance represents the holiness of His sinless life; the myrrh, used for embalming the
dead, suggested His atoning death. The holy God became man for the redemptive
purpose of death and the destruction of Satan (Heb. 2: 14) and so the wise men with more
wisdom than they knew, set forth the Gospel story of the One Who is our great God and
saviour (Titus 2: 13, R.V.). Is it not extraordinary that this greatest event in history, God
coming into human experience, should have been met for the most part with indifference
and unbelief? There was "no room for Him in the inn" (Luke 2: 7). The greatest palace
would really have been unworthy of Him, but He is willing to be born in a cattle shed,
what condescension, what humility! The tragedy is that there are still millions, centuries
later, who "have no room for Him" in their lives.
2: 16 - 3: 12.
pp. 53 - 58
We have seen how Matthew groups his narrative in groups of three and in the second
chapter we are studying this is evidently so, for we have (1) the visit of the Magi, (2) the
flight into Egypt and (3) the return to Palestine, the land of Israel (Matt. 2: 21). When
the tyrant Herod had died and the danger temporarily removed from the infant Child,
God makes it clear by a dream that it was now safe for Joseph and his family to return
home. Matthew 2: 22 tells us that Joseph was afraid when he came into the territory of
Archelaus, Herod's son. He was quite the worst of Herod's descendants and Josephus
tells us that in order to show he was equal to his father as an autocratic ruler he
commenced his reign with a massacre of no less than three thousand people. Thus it was
that God directed Joseph to Galilee, "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through
the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene" (2: 23).
The last phrase contains a difficulty, for there is nothing in the O.T. which seems to
connect the word Nazaraios (Nazarene) with the Messiah. Zahn has pointed out that
there is no word "saying, legonton", after "prophets", a word which Matthew usually
inserts when he quotes the prophetic utterances of the O.T. The inference is that "He
shall be called a Nazarene" is not meant to be a direct quotation, but is the Evangelist's
explanation for what has gone before. In the early ages of Christianity Jerome suggested
that this statement refers to those passages which predict that Christ would be despised,
for John 1: 46 and 7: 52 are linked with contempt for Nazareth. One thing is certain,
there is no connection with the word Nazarite for the Lord Jesus was not a Nazarite. We
should also note that Matthew says prophets not prophet.  The reference is not to any
one quotation, but the testimony of several O.T prophets such as  Psalm 22: 6-8;
Isaiah 53: 2-4 which show Him to be the Nazarene "despised and rejected".