Sunday 03 January 2010

Bible Book:

"And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road." (v.12)

Matthew 2:1-12 Sunday 3 January 2010


The theme this week is about love, and how we experience it.There is, however, an underlying motif of contrasts andcomparisons.

We begin with a somewhat familiar reading from Matthew. This Gospelwas written 60 or 70 years after the death of Jesus and istraditionally connected with Matthew the tax collector. It waswritten for the Gentiles (non-Jews) and recognises that the readerprobably does not understand the nuances of Jewish life andlaw.

The wise men have travelled a long way to seek God. We do not knowwho they are or where they have come from, nor do we know theirreligious or cultural backgrounds. Religious art usually portraysthree very different men who clearly come from very differentcountries. At least one has a good knowledge of Jewish writings ashe quotes the prophet Micah (5:2) in verse 6 when talking to King Herod.Matthew is telling of Jesus as king of the entire world, not justthe Jews.

Herod is deeply disturbed by the news of a new king. He is theruler of an oppressed people who are waiting with bated breath fora messiah who will free them from their Roman oppressors. If thisnew king is the Messiah then Herod willbe drawn into a political conflict which is likely to lead to allout war. He will do anything to avoid this so immediately begins toseek alternative solutions. However God has other ideas and thestrangers from far-away lands are willing to obey God withoutquestion. In stark contrast to Herod, who is concerned only withhimself, they are able to see themselves as part of God'soverarching plan.

To Ponder

The wise men travelled many miles to find Jesus.How much effort are you willing to put in to seek God in your lifeand the lives of those around you?

The wise men brought precious gifts to give. Haveyou ever given a gift to God, or do you just expect gifts fromGod?

The wise men were willing to follow God'sinstructions even though it meant going a different way. Howwilling are you to change or abandon your plans and follow God'splan instead?

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