Unity in Christ Jesus
Matthew 2:1-12: Today is observed as the Feast of the Epiphany, the day when the Christian church celebrates the arrival of visitors from the East to meet the infant Jesus. When the visitors arrive in Jerusalem, King Herod’s advisers quote the prophet Micah (5:2) regarding the birthplace of the child. Herod gets upset and asks the visitors to let him know the location. They meet the child, worship him, and give him gifts. Then they return home another way, without telling Herod where the child is.
Visitors from the East
2 Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea, during the time when Herod was king. Soon afterward, some men who studied the stars came from the East to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the baby born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star when it came up in the east, and we have come to worship him.”
3 When King Herod heard about this, he was very upset, and so was everyone else in Jerusalem. 4 He called together all the chief priests and the teachers of the Law and asked them, “Where will the Messiah be born?”
5 “In the town of Bethlehem in Judea,” they answered. “For this is what the prophet wrote:
6 ‘Bethlehem in the land of Judah,
you are by no means the least of the leading cities of Judah;
for from you will come a leader
who will guide my people Israel.’”
7 So Herod called the visitors from the East to a secret meeting and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 Then he sent them to Bethlehem with these instructions: “Go and make a careful search for the child; and when you find him, let me know, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9-10 And so they left, and on their way they saw the same star they had seen in the East. When they saw it, how happy they were, what joy was theirs! It went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 11 They went into the house, and when they saw the child with his mother Mary, they knelt down and worshiped him. They brought out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and presented them to him.
12 Then they returned to their country by another road, since God had warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod.
Today’s Key Verse: Matthew 2:6
“‘Bethlehem in the land of Judah, you are by no means the least of the leading cities of Judah; for from you will come a leader who will guide my people Israel.’”
These visitors, who are identified in Greek as magoi, may have been astrologers who came from a land to the east. Like others who studied the stars, they believed that when a great leader was about to be born, a new star would appear in the sky (see Numbers 24:17). What did they do when they found the place where Jesus was? Why did they not return to Herod? How did you observe the birth of Jesus this Christmas season?
Lord Jesus, you are my king and Lord of my life, and I worship you. Just as a star guided those who searched for you, lead me each day in faith. I offer you my humble heart and praise your holy name. Amen.
Matthew 2:13-23: Joseph, Mary, and the child Jesus escape to Egypt.