During this special Year of the Word: The God Who Speaks, we are going to have a regular series of reflections published on our website which will prompt us to reflect on important passages of St Matthew’s Gospel, and learn more about them. We are very grateful to Dr Natalie Watson, a contemporary theologian and writer, for offering these reflections for our community.
The birth of Jesus changes everything, and in this passage we read about those who set out to find him. God’s story with the world begins small, with the birth of a child in a backwater of the empire, and yet it is there that the most important event in history takes place. Matthew quotes from the Old Testament prophet Micah: ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’ And this leader will be different from the kind people have experienced. And King Herod knows it. A king, even if it is a child can only mean trouble, and that must be stopped, so he thinks. The three wise men from the edge of the empire go on the most important journey in history: they follow the star that will lead them to Jesus, the king of the Jews, and they become the first to worship him and to bring him their gifts. The wise men who went in search of the star and the child came from the east, possibly from Parthia, from outside of the Roman Empire. One of the most important messages of Matthew’s Gospel is that Jesus is the one in whom God’s promises in the Old Testament are fulfilled. In Jesus God makes himself known to the people of Israel and to all people. As God led the wise men from the east by a star to find the child, he invites us to find him and offer him our gift of worship and love.
God who led the wise men from the east by a star to find the child Jesus, lead us to find you and receive our gifts of worship and praise.