On Matthew 2

Part of a series on N.T. Wright's Matthew for Everyone, Part 1: Chapters 1-15

Big Takeaway

Jesus' birth ushered in such a drastic change in the world that it either meant the greatest hope to some or the greatest danger to others.

On The Visit of The Magi

"The ancient world, innocent of streetlights, never forgot the night sky. Many people, particularly in the countries to the east of Palestine, had developed the study of the stars and the planets to a fine art, giving each one very particular meanings." - N.T. Wright

  • In the ancient world people believed that everything in existence was interconnected. The Magi (meaning magicians, astrologers, expert interpreters in dreams, omens, and other strange happenings) noticed a cosmic happening and were searching for it's earthly counterpart.
  • One possible cosmic sighting could have been the planets' Saturn (sometimes thought to represent the Jews) and Jupiter (the royal planet) which were in conjunction three times in the year 7BC.
  • Their belief that a cosmic happening had announced the coming of the Jewish king would explain why, "When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy" (Mt. 2:10 ESV) and brought the kind of gifts that you only bring to kings or even gods.

On The Circumstances of Jesus' Birth

"This is how Israel's redeemer was to appear; this is how God would set about liberating his people, and bringing justice to the whole world. No point in arriving in comfort, when the world is in misery; no point having an easy life, when the world suffers violence and injustice! If he is to be Emmanuel, God-with-us, he must be with us where the pain is." - N.T. Wright

  • Jesus was born a homeless refugee with a price on his head, during a time of great trouble, tension, violence, and fear.
  • Here we see God's continued communication with Joseph through dreams. This is something we see often throughout the Bible.