January 7, 2013

Matthew 2:1&2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Sometimes in all the pageantry of this story of the three kings (it never says they were kings but calls them Magi and never says there were three of them only three gifts presented) we lose sight of the fact that the purpose of the whole trip was to worship. To a good first century Jew the idea of worshipping anything or anyone but the God of the Old Testament was a terrible sin. The first of the Ten Commandments reads, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them.” For Matthew to state that this baby was a proper object of worship was really saying something. Later, Herod will say that he wants to worship the baby also but we find out that is not his true intention. People come to Jesus, God, religion for lots of reasons and worship isn’t always one of them. The point of this story is that outsiders recognized that God was doing something very special here and came to worship while those closer missed it all. What does it mean to worship? Whom or what do we worship? What do we bring to worship? What do we take away? These are all questions this story can raise. What do you think?

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