After Yeshua’s birth, His family stayed in Bethlehem for up to two years. A visit from a group of Magi, or wise men, set off a renewed effort from Herod to eliminate any possible threat to his rule over Judea. Once Herod found about Yeshua, they had no choice but to flee from Herod. After the Magi found and visited Yeshua in Bethlehem, Joseph took his family to Egypt. What is the significance of including this event in the Bible? Why did God send Joseph and his family to Egypt?
It is entirely appropriate that this week’s Torah portion is titled “Vayera” which means “And He Appeared.” As we have been following the life and time of our Master Yeshua, we now come to the time of His birth; His appearing! Luke records that Joseph and Mary head off to Bethlehem, the ancestral home of Joseph’s family. Why would they travel to Bethlehem from Nazareth? Why travel so late in Mary’s pregnancy? Given the cultural norms of the day, Mary’s unexpected pregnancy during the time of her betrothal to Joseph would have caused somewhat of a scandal in Nazareth among family and friends. Because of the appearance of the angel Gabriel to both Mary and Joseph, they both knew the true identity and mission of the child Mary carried. Did they fully understand the prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah? Or was this move to Bethlehem for another purpose?
The gospels of Matthew and Luke include genealogies of Yeshua. Matthew begins his in the very beginning. Luke places his genealogy later in his account, and, for some reason, the two accounts don’t agree. What does the latest research tell us about how these two genealogies both accurately describe Yeshua’s family? Why did Matthew and Luke include their genealogies? These genealogies are the last in a long line of genealogies scattered throughout the Torah and the writings of the Bible. What does the inclusion of these genealogies and their placement in scripture tell us about God’s redemption plan?
Luke begins his Gospel narrative with the story of and elderly priest, Zacharias and his barren wife Elisheva. What is the connection between the birth of John the Baptist, the son born to Zacharias and Elisheva, and the birth of Yeshua? They are both miraculous births only a few months apart. How do these births compare to the births of Isaac and Samuel? Every barren woman mentioned in the Bible eventually bears a son who is set apart for God. The sons born to Elisheva and Miriam are no exception.
As Moses winds up his discourse to the Children of Israel on the Plains of Moab as they are poised to enter the Promised Land, he spoke one last blessing on the Children of Israel. He began his blessing by speaking of their triumphant entry into the Promised Land as a holy, set apart army in covenant with their God. All of the events of the book of Deuteronomy took place on the plains of Moab across the Jordan River from Jericho, nearly due east of Jerusalem 25 miles away above the Jordan River. Moses’ words following on the prophetic words of the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32 are, also, prophetic, both of their upcoming entry into the Land and their future coming led by Messiah Yeshua.
There are two books of the Bible that begin with the phrase, “In the beginning.” The first book of the Bible, Genesis, and the Gospel of John. What do these two books have in common? Did the apostle John deliberately open his gospel account with the words “In the beginning” to lead the reader or hearer back to Genesis? How does that change the way we read the gospel of John? What deeper implications does this have?