Introduction and About the Text (Matthew 2:1-12)
Our Lord’s coming brings three responses and you see these three in this reading right here. Faith – vs. 2. Anger – vs. 3 and Herod. Apathy – vs. 3 and Jerusalem. Where is the apathy? The news has come to the Jewish people that it is likely their King has been born. The King and Savior promised since the foundation of the world. The King that would redeem them. The King that not only deserves their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but their entire life and body. God becomes flesh – as He has promised them. And their reaction? To be troubled. How many are interested in traveling the 90 miles with the Magi to worship and receive this King? How many of those chief priests and scribes stop what they are doing, take their family and their congregations to behold the Word made flesh? Not a single one is recorded.
As this is written for our instruction, comfort and repentance, it is good to reflect on these three reactions to our Lord’s coming that we as a Christian have. Apathy is of course a big one that we all have – pastor and hearer alike.
For our Repentance
Our Lord’s Word has been given to us. We have God’s manifested will which reveals both how we are to live and what we are to believe in what God really thinks of us when we consistently and miserably fail to live that way, and what is our reaction often to daily Bible meditating or hearing the Word read and preached at Church? “Boy, that’s a long reading. I wonder what I can think about as I space out for that long of a time. I wish the Bible weren’t so boring, at times. Why doesn’t God want to talk about me a little more because I’m so awesome and a little less about what He chose to talk about. I think I’d rather sleep a little more, watch a little more Matlock, stay out a little later or play a little more.” Apathy.
Or another form of apathy – “I heard it. I know what He meant, but I don’t really care all that much.”
The other negative reaction – the one that Herod had – is anger. It goes like this: “I hear it and I don’t like what I hear. If there is a natural order and law to life about what marriage is and should look like, who I am to honor or respect, how I am to receive God’s gift of sex, what I should think about money, what I should do outwardly when I am inwardly angry, what should be coming out of my mouth, and how I should feel about my life regarding content and happiness – then I would mostly prefer to make that up. When someone tells me otherwise – anger.”
For our Comfort
Thank the Lord that He can work on us and in us – so often in spite of us. Thank that Lord that some read their Bibles, not always because they know that in it lies comfort, life, forgiveness, peace, joy, but just because it’s their habit to do so. Thank the Lord that we are here today, not because the first thought we had was, “I can’t wait to hear our Lord’s Word. I can’t wait to hear someone preach to me to repent. I can’t wait to hear someone preach to me that forgiveness is given today because God Himself is present with His mercy,” but rather come because it is your custom or because you really just thought that you ought to come. What we receive, whether we always thought about it or not, whether we always wanted to or not, whether we always feel it or not, are those very gifts from heaven. What the sermon delivers, what the gift of God’s Word gives, what we receive as we eat and drink our Lord’s body and blood is this: the unsearchable riches of Christ (Ephesians 3). Boldness and access with confidence through our faith in Him (Ephesians 3). Faith, like the Magi, that receives our Jesus who was born, died, and is risen and ascended to give us His light, grace, mercy and has won our hearts to serve Him only. Who cares? With the Magi our response in faith is, “We do.”