Matthew 2

Reading for Tuesday, June 12: Matthew 2

In Matthew’s Gospel account, he frames the story in such way as to parallel Jesus’ early life with the story of Israel, particularly the Exodus story. Jesus’ birth draws the attention of Herod, leading to the massacre of male children; the same setting is found in the opening scene of Exodus. Jesus will go down to Egypt and return; the story of Exodus from Egypt focuses on a similar journey. Just as Israel was delivered as they passed through the waters, Jesus will identify with this experience as he receives his own baptism at the hand of John. Whereas Israel failed miserably in her desert trials, Jesus demonstrates faithfulness as he relies on God’s Word to fend off temptation. Finally, Moses ascends Mt. Sinai to receive the command of God, just as Jesus climbs the mountain to deliver his “Sermon on the Mount”, a reorientation of this Law, translated into the ethic of God’s Kingdom reign. “You have heard it said….but I say unto you…” — this is the language Jesus will use to speak this new Kingdom reality into existence. As such, Jesus is the fulfillment of Israel’s story, the culmination of God’s covenantal promises.

In Matthew’s birth narrative, there are no shepherds, no manger, no “Silent Night” imagery. Instead, the attention is focused on the courtroom of Herod. We look at this earthly king, yet we know the irony. The real king doesn’t reside here. The real king’s location is something of a mystery to these Magi, these wise men. It’s a subtle point, but it’s one worth making: the wisdom of these men rests not in their education or street-smarts, but in their desire for Jesus. This is the quest of wisdom, for Christ alone makes sense of our lives.

This entry was posted in Faith, Jesus, Kingdom Values, Project 3:45, Scripture and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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