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The Unexpected: Matthew 2

Chapter two of the book of Matthew is filled with the unexpected.  If you read it carefully, you will discover that the three “wise men” were actually something called “Magi.” Whatever we call them, they weren’t even at the manger scene.  They actually seem like astrologers.  Why would God use a star as a symbol for the sending of the Messiah?  What would this light come to mean?

a picture of the universal sky. The star of David appeared and signaled the coming of the Messiah, Jesus.

When the Magi come to Jerusalem, the current “King of the Jews,” Herod, pretends to want to go and worship this new born King.  The other group mentioned in this story were the religious leaders.  Herod brought them together to tell him where the Messiah was to be born.  Their answer was based on a prophecy from Micah 5:2: “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.”

So, we have three perspectives: Herod, the Magi, and the religious leaders. One wants to kill Him.  One wants to worship Him.  And one couldn’t care less.  We would expect that the religious leaders would go worship Him.  The Magi are the ones we would expect not to care.  That leaves just Herod, but he is the one who wants the Bible searched out to find out where the Messiah is to be born.  He did exactly what we all should, search the Scriptures, yet he is the one who wants Him dead!  Imagine using the Bible to find out who you should kill!  This is a mess of dashed expectations.  

The Magi likely traveled 900+ miles (that’s if they were from Babylon as most think).  The religious leaders could have traveled 5 miles (Jerusalem to Bethlehem), but like Herod, they didn’t move a muscle.  The religious leaders were brought in to tell the current King where the Messiah was to be born.  They know that there is a sign in the sky of the birth.  So, they decide to travel to see the baby…wait, they don’t do that.  They do nothing.  The hope of Israel has finally been provided, and their response was to go home.  They can’t claim to be ignorant of the significance, yet they did nothing.  30 years later, our Savior would encounter religious leaders of the same vein.  With truth incarnate speaking to them, they denied Him. 

We aren’t kings, and we aren’t astrologers.  We’re most like the religious leaders, and we, too, are put to the test.  Everyone has to answer the question of the significance of that child.  Do we want him gone, like Herod?  Do we worship him, like the Magi?  Or do we ignore him, like the religious leaders?  Matthew says the Magi were overjoyed.  They were the outsiders! The religious leaders wouldn’t even travel five miles.  They knew their Scriptures.  They served God at the temple.  They controlled how people could have access to forgiveness through the sacrificial system at the temple.  These are the same leaders who ran the money changing tables that this child would one day flip over.  Who is He to you?  Will you seek Him out?  Will you give honor to whom honor is due?  We must never forget that there is a large gap between knowing the truth and living it out. 

We must never forget that there is a large gap between knowing the truth and living it out.

The Scriptures don’t say well done thou good and faithful scholar.  Well done thou good and faithful king.  It says well done thou good and faithful servant.  So, the Star of Bethlehem was for the child who would be the light of the world…the light that reveals the truth of men’s hearts.  What does it reveal about yours?  Hopefully, it wouldn’t reveal unexpected things.


Chad McCracken

Check out Chad's personal blog: It Is Written

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