This is one of those chapters of the Bible where I really wish there was more detail because I’d love to know the intricacies of how all this went down. I’ll have to ask Jesus for a thorough account when I get to Heaven. Or maybe I’ll run into the magi and I can ask them…
- V1 – Wise men “from the East” likely from Babylon (since they knew Jewish prophecy) and then God sends Jesus’ family to Egypt (V13). Both are places that enslaved God’s people. Even though the Jews were in exile in Babylon, they had a positive effect that led to Babylonians searching for the promised Jewish Messiah a loooong time later.
◊ Do I share my faith, realizing it could affect many generations in their pursuit of God?
- V2 – The wise men knew enough about Jewish prophecy to know that the star signified the Messiah when they saw it. (My Study Bible says that a quote from Numbers associates a star with the arrival of the Messiah.) So the wise men were at least intellectually interested in God, but proved they were also spiritually moved by Him when they travelled so far and brought gifts to worship Him.
◊ Is my interest in God and my pursuit of Him simply intellectual or only spiritual/emotional? (I think it must be both of these things.)
- V3,16 – Herod immediately views the Messiah as a threat to his throne and doesn’t consider that the salvation Jesus will bring (according to Scriptures) may be better than ruling a kingdom.
◊ Does Jesus “threaten” anything I want to hang onto that being a part of His kingdom would require me to give up or let go?
- V3 – Why was all of Jerusalem troubled? How did they “all” know? Could they see the star too? Was there a disturbing number of wise men? (I don’t have the answers to these questions. )
- V8 – Herod sends the wise men to find God for him.
◊ Do I rely on others to seek God and His kingdom for me or do I seek Him myself?
- V9-10 – Verse 10 makes it sound like the star wasn’t in front of them the whole time and didn’t necessarily lead them to Jerusalem, they just went there assuming that’s where the Messiah would be. They were thrilled when it showed up again and gave them more instructions.
◊ How diligently do I follow God even when His directions are unclear or ambiguous? Do I take action, having faith that He will provide more directions when necessary, or do I wait for Him to give me step by step instructions?
- V11 – Mary and Jesus and a bunch of worshipping foreigners. Boy, I would like to have seen that as it was happening. (My Study Bible says the worshipping Magi were a foreshadowing of Gentiles, representing the rest of the world, bowing before Jesus.)
◊ When people are looking for Jesus (or when they come to my house) do I graciously introduce them to Him or do I freak out and slam the door in their faces?
- V11 – They fell down and worshipped and gave Him expensive gifts! Even though He was a baby/toddler! They had complete confidence that He was the Messiah and worthy of worship and pursuit.
◊ Do I honor and worship God with this much enthusiasm and confident devotion?
- V14 – God didn’t give Joseph and Mary time to pack or do anything but obey right away. And Joseph did – he left in the middle of the night.
◊ I’m trying to teach my kids to obey right away. Am I doing the same by listening for God’s instructions and not offering excuses when it’s something I’m reluctant to do?
- V6, 18 – Two more prophecies. Matthew wants to make it very clear that Jesus is the One God promised.
- V16-18 – Herod’s fury fulfills another prophecy and is an echo of what happened in the past. How sad and traumatic for that region. I wonder how they found God in the midst of that.
- V21-23 – Again, Joseph obeys. He stayed put until he was given instruction to go, and also uses common sense which is confirmed by God (V22).
- The wise men took action without specific direction. Joseph received specific directions and followed them to the letter – but still used common sense and good judgement when instructions were unclear.
◊ What can I learn from this? Is there something specific in my life I should apply this to?
Wrap up your quiet time by praying through the following questions:
- Based on this passage of Scripture, what can I thank God for?
- What do these verses tell me about God and His character?
- Based on this passage, is there anything I need to confess to God and ask forgiveness for?
- What do these verses remind me to pray for others?
- What do these verses move me to pray for myself?