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What’s in the box? Receiving the gift of Christmas

25/12/2022 - Matt Destry

Scripture: Matthew 2:1-12 ESV

The context

Now Matthew gives us a fix in place and time. Bethlehem, a few miles from Jerusalem, is the birthplace of Jesus. Written to a Jewish audience so the focus on the characters are important.

The players

‘wise men from the east’

Herod – the king of Israel

The chief priests and scribes

The sharp contrast between these well-motivated foreigners and the unscrupulous jealousy of Herod, the official King of the Jews (and all Jerusalem with him), foreshadows the response which official Judaism will make to Jesus, and the future welcome of Gentile believers into the true people of God.

Points:

From the beginning, we see the hearts of men falling into three categories in their response to the birth of King Jesus-

1/ Hatred and hostility – King Herod

2/ Indifference – the chief priests and scribes

3/ Adoring worship – the 3 wise men

Think about what it meant for Jesus to be the true king of the Jews. And then—come to him, by whatever route you can, and with the best gifts you can find. NT WRIGHT