Matthew 2 begins with the Magi (sometimes referred to as "wise men") from the East traveling to find Jesus. I've seen this reenacted in countless Christmas plays, but never considered it too deeply until Saturday when I read this chapter slowly and with a more questioning, wondering mind.
Some questions that came to mind:
Why were these guys traveling to worship the King of the Jews? These were not Jews so why worship a Jewish king? Why was this Jewish king important?
Had you ever thought of this before? I know nowadays no Persian or Arab or Chinese or Indian would follow a star to worship a Jewish king. So why was this Jewish king different?
Why were they filled with joy when they found the child? Why did they gift baby Jesus with their gold, incense and myrrh?
Why would they find a star and know it was the one ("his star") that would lead them to Jesus? Did God speak to them through the stars? (Would God do such a thing?!) Did they have a vision that a star would appear to tell them the way to this special child?
It's interesting that their query troubled Herod and the people. Then we see Herod calling the priests and leading teachers to ask them what the Law said about the Messiah's coming. They quoted from Micah 5:2 and verified the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem. Why would this trouble Herod? Were the people troubled for the same reason as Herod? I tend to think not because the verse said Herod met secretly with the wise men after having gathered the priests and teachers and gotten answers about the Messiah's birth. Why did Herod want to kill the Jews' Messiah? Were the people troubled because they did not know their Messiah had been born yet these foreigners did? Did God actually give a sign to foreigners over them? Was this perhaps why the people were troubled when these Easterners showed up looking for their king?
A study note in my Bible suggested that the Magi (being non Jews) being part of this momentous occasion represented God's gift of salvation was for all people, not just the Jews. In Luke we know that Jesus' birth was announced to local shepherds (Jews) and now we know it was also "announced" to men from the East (non Jews) by the stars. God wants all people to know the way of salvation.
Wisemen warned of Herod's evil intentions (vs. 12)
Joseph warned of Herod's evil plan (vs. 13)
Joseph told to go to Israel (vs. 19)
Joseph told to go to Nazareth (vs. 22)
vs. 6 which refers to Micah 5:2 -- born in Bethlehem
vs. 15 -- Hosea 11:1 -- out of Egypt have I called my Son
vs. 18 -- Jeremiah 31:15 -- Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted because they are dead
vs. 23 -- general reference?? -- He shall be called a Nazarene
What caught your attention from this chapter? Any thoughts or questions on what I wrote? Talk to me! :)