Nice insight about the magi from the Right Reverend

December 30, 2011

I’m preaching Matthew 2:1-12, the traditional Epiphany gospel text, this Sunday, which is Epiphany Sunday. This will be the fifth and final part of our “Journey to Bethlehem” series.

In his Matthew for Everyone commentary, N.T. Wright describes the ways in which the beginning of Matthew’s gospel, including the story of the magi, points to the end of the gospel:

There is another way as well in which this story points ahead to the climax of the gospel. Jesus will finally come face to face with the representative of the world’s greatest king—Pilate, Caesar’s subordinate. Pilate will have rather different gifts to give him, though he, too, is warned by a dream not to do anything to him (27.19). His soldiers are the first Gentiles since the Magi to call Jesus ‘king of the Jews’ (27.29), but the crown they give him is made of thorns, and his throne is a cross. At that moment, instead of a bright star, there will be an unearthly darkness (27.45), out of which we shall hear a single Gentile voice: yes, he really was God’s son (27.54).

Listen to the whole story, Matthew is saying. Think about what it meant for Jesus to be the true king of the Jews. And then—come to him, by whatever route you can, and with the best gifts you can find.

N.T. Wright, Matthew for Everyone (Louisville, KY: WJK, 2004), 12.

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