So, Jesus was born to a virgin, Mary in Bethlehem. After he was born, a star appeared- a star that was foretold in Numbers 24:17- that guided wise men to where Jesus was. Kind of odd. The thing is, this star was profound, supernatural, divine. Whether it was a comet, an guiding angel, a magnificent and unusual star... God was using it to direct the Magi. Since it was so profound, and prophecies made in the Old Testament, including one from Balaam in Numbers 24:17 and one from the prophet Micah in Micah 5- there was great belief that this child born in Bethlehem was the Messiah. Herod the king knew it as well. This displeased him because if this was truly the Messiah, the baby would be more important than him. So Herod sent the wise men ahead to look for this child. By this time Jesus was about two years old. Notice that Herod "summoned the wise men secretly". Herod didn't want to make a big deal about this baby born of a virgin. The wise men who practiced in pagan activities, were probably not completely informed about Jesus' divine nature. The term "wise" does not refer specifically to godly wisdom. However, when they came into the presence of Jesus as a two year old, they "fell down and worshiped"! I love that. I also love seeing the unbelieving become on fire believers. Never had they been in the presence of Jesus, but when God creates the opportunity- they fall down and worship! Jesus captivates them, and radically calls them to repentance! Anyway, Herod sent the wise men, telling them, "Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him." But the wise men were warned in a dream not to return to Herod. During this time, God warned Joseph via an angel to leave Egypt because of Herod's plan to kill Jesus. The king became outraged since his plan had also been learned by the wise men. So, he took a step further and ordered that all the boys who were two years old and younger in the region of Bethlehem to be killed. Let's think about this a minute. Herod was obviously serious about getting rid of this baby who was believed to be the Messiah! He not only ordered boys who were two to be killed, which was about how old Jesus was- but just in case, killed any boy under the age of two! The region of Bethlehem could have had 10-30 boys under the age of two, according to my ESV study notes- all of them being murdered by the king! Can you imagine how devastating this would have been? This isn't a picture you'd paint for a children's Sunday School class! Imagine some of the hatred some of these families may have had for the young Messiah, even then- since it was his birth that resulted in their sons' death!
Herod the Great died sometime after he tried to wipe out the True King. After he died, his son took his throne, who was like him in character. Through a dream Joseph was told to go to Nazareth, a town of Galilee. What great faith Joseph had! First he's told that his fiancee whom he had no sexual relations with, was pregnant and her son was put there by God and He would be the Savior of the world! Instead of leaving her and letting her undergo persecution on her own, he loved her, made her his wife and experienced the persecution together. Can you imagine what kind of ridicule they received? They were saying that God put a baby in her young womb, who would be the Messiah- the One to fulfill all the Old Testament prophecies! Then, Joseph listened to an angel when he said to depart to Egypt to protect the family from Herod who was out to kill their son. After that, when Herod died, he obeyed again, the direction from an angel who told them to go to Egypt, and then more specifically, Nazareth. That's faith! Because of his obedience to God, who spoke to him through dreams and angels, Jesus was protected. What would have happened if Joseph stayed in Bethlehem when Herod's soldiers came marching in to slay all the young boys? What would have happened if he didn't trust God and went back to Bethlehem when Herod's son, Archelaus was king? First of all, the Old Testament prophecies wouldn't have been fulfilled, and God's Word wouldn't be truth. Things would have happened some other way. That's why the prophecies were so great! They were the foretellings of God's plan. God knew at the time the prophets spoke or wrote hundreds of years before, that Joseph would obey. If the prophecies hadn't been spoken, then this story would have seemed just like a matter of events. But they weren't just a matter of events- it was God's plan. The prophecies prove that. Prophecies were given to honorable men, by God. The word from God wasn't just for that prophet- they were meant to be shared! What good would the prophecy had been if nobody knew about it? There would have been no importance in the abnormal star. Herod would have not wanted to kill Jesus. There wouldn't be so much weight on the fact that Joseph ended up in Nazareth! What's so amazing, is the Old Testament is filled with prophecies about Jesus. It's not like He just "happened". It was foretold. It was known before He even was born. He is the purpose of everything and the reason all things exist.