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Finding Compassion in Matthew

Chapter 2 - The Wise Men from the East

Matthew 2

·        Observations:
The wise men from the East show up and ask "for him who was born 'King of the Jews'". This tells me that the Magi were able to read the prophecies about the Messiah.

·        I understand why Herod may have been upset, but why were all the people of Jerusalem troubled?

·        When the magi did not show up Herod's killed all the children 2 years and under fulfilling another prophecy.

·        The magi brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to gift the young King.

·        The flight to Egypt fulfilled another prophecy, as did the decision to live in Galilee.

 

The story of Jesus’ birth continues with the visit of the magi from the East. “Where is he that was born King of the Jews? We have seen his star in the East and have come to worship him.”

Did you get that? The wise men who were basically astrologers- from the East called Jesus ‘King of the Jews’? How is it that they were able to recognize Jesus as the Son of God when his own people could not? Here’s what I think: do you remember when said the prophet said,

“I will bring them to my holy mountain of Jerusalem and will fill them with joy in my house of prayer. I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices, because my Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations” (Isaiah 56:7 NLT).

Well, this was a confirmation of that, a fulfillment of that prophecy if you will. For years and years the Israelites were God’s chosen people (just read Leviticus and you will see how God revealed his heart to them), they were to be an example to all the other nations. They were to be his priests ministering to the people and teaching them about the love of God.

Sadly, they failed. Instead of being an example to the world, they mimicked their behavior and followed them in idolatry. They passed their children through the fire to Molech – a practice which God abhorred and built altars to all the hosts of heaven under the trees that God created. The Israelites disobedience of God’s laws was such that every single curse in Leviticus 26:14-39 came through.

The heathens were corrupt. The chosen people were corrupt. At that point God could have said, “Okay. Game over. Let’s create a new earth and some new people.” But he didn’t. He had compassion on the people for their lack of a shepherd and so he made a way for them to know him. Since his chosen people did not evangelize the world he found another way to do it.

Compassion is love for all humanity.

Something as simple as a star was used as an evangelic message. There must have been something about that star that made it significant. Something that made it stand out; something that caused the wise men of the East to want to learn more about it. So much so that they even read the writings of an exiled people. There was something that caused these men to travel miles away from home – a distance that appears to have taken months!

They became so familiar with that star that they could identify it in a constellation of stars. All of this shows the compassion that God had on humanity. He wanted the story of his son’s birth to be told the world over. At that time in history the Israelites were not going to do it but God raised himself up men from the East who would be willing – eager – to tell the story of the King of the Jews.

Prayer:

Father I thank you for your great compassion of the people of this world. Thank you for going to such great lengths to save us from our sins. Thank you for the lesson of the wise men that were willing to follow a star to give the glory and honor due to your name. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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