Series 5 The Gospel According to Christmas Lesson 4: Conflict at Christmas

Conflict at Christmas:  An Inductive Study of Matthew 2:13-23

Introduction:  Because this study also looks at the Old Testament passages quoted by Matthew, we recommend either planning to spend an extended time on this study, or doing it over the course of several days. You are encouraged to do the entire study in order to give you a richer experience of the passage.


  • Read Matthew 2 to familiarize yourself with the context of the passage.
  • Read verses 13-23.  As you read, write down your observations. Consider the following:
    1. Who are the key players in this passage?
    2. What are the connections between them?
    3. What is their significance to the story?
  • Reflect upon the person of Joseph.  What conclusions can you draw about him from this passage?
  • Reflect upon the person of Herod.  What conclusions can you draw about him from this passage?


  • The Gospel of Matthew was first distributed to Jewish believers.  Matthew takes great pains to connect the story of Jesus with the Old Testament scriptures.  Using this information, read the passage again, this time from the perspective of a 1st century Jewish believer.  Consider the following:
    1. What was the relationship of the people of Israel with Egypt?
    2. Would Egypt be considered a place of safety?
    3. Write your reflections and questions.
  • Read Hosea 11, the beginning of which is quoted in verse 15.  What thoughts about God and his relationship to his people are evoked through these words?
  • Read Matthew 2:16.  Reflect on the reality of this evil in light of the promises of Hosea 11.  What does this say about God? Write down your thoughts.
  • Read Jeremiah 31:1-22, part of which is quoted in verse 18.  What memories would be brought to mind to an Israelite who is reminded of these words? Write down your thoughts.
  • Read verses 19-23.  How do these words compare with those of Jeremiah 31?  What was Jesus’ homecoming like?  What memories might this evoke for a Jewish believer? Write down your thoughts.


  • Read the entire passage again.
  • Reflect on the following questions, and record your thoughts in your journal.
    1. What you learned about God through this study?
    2. How might this change your response to the evil you encounter in daily life?
    3. What are your take aways from this lesson?