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13

Lesson

Long Journeys

Matthew 2:13–23; The Desire of Ages, pp. 64–67

 

The Message

God can guide our lives just as He guided the Wise Men and Jesus’ parents.

Memory Verse

“My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

Have you ever gone on a long journey? Did it take a long time to pack and prepare? Mary and Joseph went on a long journey. And they had to leave in a hurry.

For some time after Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph lived in Bethlehem. They moved from the stable to a better place. And Mary often thought of the nighttime visit of the shepherds. Weeks later another group of visitors came to see Jesus. It happened like this . . .



 

On the night Jesus was born, some Wise Men in a country far away and to the east of Judea were studying the sky. They saw a strange light that faded away. As it faded away, a new star appeared. These Wise Men, called Magi, had studied the stars for a long time. But this star was one they had never seen before.

The sight of that light and a bright new star made these men curious. They immediately began to study old writings. Soon they discovered an old prophecy about a “star . . . out of Jacob” and a “scepter” that would “rise out of Israel” (Numbers 24:17). They wondered if this new star could be the fulfillment of that prophecy. Could it be a sign of the promised Messiah the Jews had talked about for years? They decided that it was.

In their country it was the custom to give gifts to princes, kings, and other important people. So the Wise Men carried gold, myrrh, and frankincense with them. They would give these expensive gifts to the promised Savior.

They traveled by night so they could keep the star in view. When they stopped during the day, they continued to study the prophecies. And they became more and more convinced that this child was the Promised One.

After many days, the Wise Men approached Jerusalem. There the star seemed to rest over the temple. They went to the priests and rulers. “Where is the king of the Jews?” they asked. But no one seemed to know.

King Herod heard about these men from the East. So he questioned the Jewish priests and rulers. From them he learned that the prophet Micah had said that the child would be born in Bethlehem.

Herod talked with the Wise Men and sent them to Bethlehem. “When you have found the child,” he said, “come back and tell me where He is. I want to worship Him too.” But Herod was lying. He planned to kill Jesus!

So the Wise Men traveled to Bethlehem. There they found Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus. These Wise Men were not Jewish. But they recognized that Jesus was the one God had promised. So they knelt and worshipped Him, and presented their gifts.

Before the Wise Men left Bethlehem, God warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod, but to go home a different way.

Days later Herod finally realized that the Wise Men were not coming back to Jerusalem. That made him very angry. He had to find that baby! So he ordered the death of all babies in Bethlehem who were two years old and younger.

But God was still in charge! He warned Joseph in a dream: “Get up! Take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Herod will start looking for the child to kill him. Stay in Egypt until I tell you to return” (Matthew 2:13, ICB). The little family left at once, in the dark of the night. They may have used the gifts of the Wise Men to supply their needs. Egypt became their home until Herod died. Then God sent an angel to tell Joseph that it was safe to return to their homeland.

At first Joseph thought about going back to Bethlehem. But again God warned him and sent him to another place. They settled in the little town of Nazareth, Joseph’s former home. There Jesus grew up.

God loves you and your family, too. He will guide you and care for you just as He guided Jesus’ parents.