A Reading from the Book of Isaiah (60:1-6)
Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far away, and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms. Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice, because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord.
> Focused on light coming into the darkness.
> Israel was in ruins and God will bring in the new light.
> “God will come to Zion as the Redeemer,” was the promise.
> Theme of the king’s coming.
> Matthew does not say the magi were kings, but we imply that from these verses.
> Hope in the new return of God.
> Sheba was famous for its gold.
Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
1 Give the King your justice, O God, *
and your righteousness to the King’s Son;
2 That he may rule your people righteously *
and the poor with justice;
3 That the mountains may bring prosperity to the people, *
and the little hills bring righteousness.
4 He shall defend the needy among the people; *
he shall rescue the poor and crush the oppressor.
5 He shall live as long as the sun and moon endure, *
from one generation to another.
6 He shall come down like rain upon the mown field, *
like showers that water the earth.
7 In his time shall the righteous flourish; *
there shall be abundance of peace till the moon shall be no more.
10 The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall pay tribute, *
and the kings of Arabia and Saba offer gifts.
11 All kings shall bow down before him, *
and all the nations do him service.
12 For he shall deliver the poor who cries out in distress, *
and the oppressed who has no helper.
13 He shall have pity on the lowly and poor; *
he shall preserve the lives of the needy.
14 He shall redeem their lives from oppression and violence, *
and dear shall their blood be in his sight.
> Psalm of Solomon – but probably came later.
> Probably used at the coronation of a king.
> As God does for Israel, so must the king.
> If the king does as God desires, the king will be blessed.
> Focus on glorious things to come.
A Reading from the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians (3:1-12)
I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—assume that you have already heard of the commission of God’s grace that was given me for you, and how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words, a reading of which will enable you to perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ. In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God’s grace that was given me by the working of his power. Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him.
> Focuses on Jesus accepting the Gentiles.
> “Mystery of Christ.” – to bring all nations as part of a promised people.
> God’s plan to bring in all nations is repeated in numerous ways.
> Not sure if Paul actually wrote the letter to the Ephesians or if it was one of his followers.
The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew (2:1-12)
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: ‘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.’” Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
> Totally different than Luke’s story.
> We “blend” the two stories.
> In Luke, Jesus is born in a stable (barn).
> Matthew passes over the birth of Jesus and starts afterwards.
> Luke and Matthew both know Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
> However, both get him to Nazareth in different fashions.
> King Herod died in 4 BCE.
> There is no word on how many magi came (2 – 20?)
> Also, these were wise men (astronomers, perhaps), but not kings.
> The story in Numbers, chapter 24 also featured a star. (Was it David?)
> In Micah, chapter 5, Matthew quotes about a new David coming.
> Herod tries to get rid of Jesus just like the pharaoh got rid of Moses.
> Do we assume three magi because three gifts are mentioned?
> The essence of the whole gospel is contained in this story.