Greater than Solomon
I praise You, Lord, for Your love shown through the Babe of Bethlehem. Teach me more about him today.
Read Matthew 2:1-12
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Jesus … turned the power scale upside down not only by showing the power of the last place but by taking the role of a servant” (Leighton Ford).
Matthew wants us to see some significant things about the Magi. First, they are Gentiles, coming from a distance to find Jesus. At the climax of the Gospel, Jesus will send his disciples to the nations. At the beginning of the Gospel, the representatives of the nations come to offer homage to Jesus. Also, theses astrologers were spiritual seekers of a dubious kind but they had been guided to Jesus. We are so used to gold, frankincense and myrrh (and to interpretations of what they mean that have little grounding in Scripture) that we fail to see what Matthew intends for us to see: the parallel with the Queen of Sheba’s visit to Solomon and the gifts she brought (1 Kings 10:1-13). The parallel also sets up a contrast. She came to a palace at the high point of Israel’s glory and splendor. The Magi call at a palace for directions. They are of sufficient influence to be granted an audience by a king, but they bow in homage to a baby in a peasant’s house.
Jesus is “greater than Solomon” (12:42). He also redefines the meaning of greatness, glory and splendor. Greatness will be found in service. On the cross he will be mocked as the King of Israel, but through his self-giving “all authority in heaven and on earth” will be given to him (28:18). All the nations will be able to follow him and every spiritual seeker can complete their quest in him.
It will not do to worship Jesus, but not allow him to reshape our understanding of his Kingdom. The love of power, privilege and fame runs deep in Western cultures. The King in a peasant’s house–who will soon be a King on a cross–calls us to something greater.
Ask the Lord for opportunities to serve during this season of giving. Make a special effort to do so this week.
Lord, free me from over-familiarity with the Scriptures. Open my eyes to see the truths which I might otherwise overlook.