The Gospel of Matthew

This devotional is written by Nat Elliott-Green. Nat's greatest aim in life is that all his hair will be completely grey before the age of 30, currently it’s touch and go as to whether he will achieve 'The Philip Schofield' look in time.

Matthew 2:1-12

The Magi Visit the Messiah

 2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him."

3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:

6 "'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'[b]"

7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Reflection

What a wonderful passage, nothing could be better, the Messiah is born and the Magi are coming to worship them. Although I think that's the most important thing here, there are two things that I really love about this passage, aside from the birth of Jesus (which is the undisputed best). Firstly, in verse 2 the way the Magi describe having seen the Messiah's star and so they followed it so they could worship Him. What simple faith and devotion, reading this passage really reminded me that sometimes we can really tie ourselves in knots over what God might be guiding us to do when it's better to just trust. The simplicity of what the Magi do in just following the sign to Jesus so that they may worship him (nothing else!) is something I know that I could learn from.

Secondly, I find it striking that Herod is threatened by the arrival of the Messiah. I can how see a Messiah would be scary to Herod, especially when so many were hoping for a warrior Messiah that would free them from Roman rule. The strength of a Messiah can feel threatening and this can be true when we let Jesus into our lives, certainly for the first time. It can feel like we are losing a grip on what we held onto so tightly, good or bad. But all Jesus wants is to break bread with us, to love and to heal, all absolutely wonderful things that we can all do with more of and nothing really to be scared of.

I recommend spending some time with God in prayer, just making the journey once again to worship Him in whatever way you feel led.

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