Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Christmas story part 3: Matthew 2

I begin today with a question. What was the last birth that received national attention in this country? Was it Suri Cruise? That is probably the most famous birth out there. As much as some people follow the tabloids, however, it is unlikely that the story of her birth will be told two millennia from now. There were no signs in the heavens (as far as I know) announcing her birth, nor did elders from other countries come to visit.

I say this because we see all of these signs when Jesus was born. Here in Matthew’s version of the story we see many of the human reactions to Jesus’ birth. Most of these reactions are related to his Jewish background. That is why the King of the Jews, Herod, was so interested. We’ll have more on him later, but let’s take a look at some of the other events around His birth.

10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On 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 and of incense and of myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. – Matthew 2:10-12

These Magi were outsiders. They were not Jewish, but they were sent on their mission from Herod because of Herod’s personal interest. God did something amazing with their hearts, however. He opened them up to Jesus’ true meaning to humanity. They were seekers of wisdom and God allowed them to find the ultimate truth in His Son. This is important because Matthew shows us that salvation is promised for all mankind.

Up to this point, most of the Bible has been meant for the Jews. While the Jews are God’s people, God loves everyone equally. These experts and seekers of wisdom in the Magi saw that there was something special about Jesus. We don’t know how they knew, but we know that they knew. That is enough to start Jesus’ message before He even started it.

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