Matthew 2:1-12 – The Wise Men

Read Matthew 2:1-12

The wise men from the East sure did a number on the status quo in Jerusalem that day when they asked about the birth of Jesus. Little did they know how that simple question would rile the king. King Herod did a great job in deflecting his anger at the news as he craftily obtained the information he needed. Something tells me he isn’t interested in worshiping the new king.

Note that the number of wise men is never mentioned. Our tradition would suggest there were three, but it could have been two, four, or more. The word “some” is open for interpretation. An interesting aside, but certainly not something to get stuck on. What is cool is that they wanted to worship this newborn king. This meeting between Jesus and the magi is referred to as the Epiphany, and in the Christian tradition is celebrated on January 6.

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Matthew 1:18-25 – Jesus Conceived

Read Matthew 1:18-25

We can only begin to imagine the conversations that went on between Joseph and Mary. It’s easy for us to put our own present-day slant on the situation as well. To remember the culture of the day is also helpful. What if you had been Joseph? To find out that your bride-to-be was “knocked up” may have been enough to just walk away, be heartbroken, be furious, be confused, etc. But what was Joseph? Righteous.

Joseph wanted to be right with God. In that day, you’d even have to “divorce” before marriage. The engagement period was a much bigger deal than it is today. Joseph wanted to avoid a scandal and do this discreetly. He must have loved Mary very much to spare her that embarrassment.

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Matthew 1:1-17 – Jesus’ Ancestors

Read Matthew 1:1-17

The Gospel of Matthew begins with a genealogy running from Abraham to Jesus. It was interesting to see all the names and realize that only a handful of them are used in our country. I’d be curious to know how many of these names are still used in the Middle Eastern countries nearer the events of the New Testament.

I do know from Bible studies that a name in those ancient times would be very significant. The meaning of one’s name would give them their identity or speak of their character. Names these days are usually chosen because the parents like them, or they are a family name they want to keep alive, or perhaps they are just being creative in using words not commonly used as names.

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