<<Lesson 3 Lesson 5>>
Nine Lessons for Christmas
4. The Magi Arrive in Jerusalem
reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew.
When Jesus was born in
Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King
behold, magi from the east
arrived in Jerusalem,
“Where is the newborn king of
We saw his star at
its rising and have come to do him homage.”
When King Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled,
and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief
priests and the scribes of the people,
he inquired of them where the
Messiah was to be born.
They said to him,
“In Bethlehem of Judea,
for thus it has been
written through the prophet:
‘And you, Bethlehem, land of
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
from you shall come a ruler,
is to shepherd my people Israel.’ ”
The birth of the Messiah brought hope to some,
and concern to others.
In the days of King Herod:
Herod reigned from 37 B.C. to 4 B.C.
Magi was originally a designation
of the Persian priestly caste. The word became used of those who were
regarded as having more than human knowledge. Matthew’s magi are
portrayed as astrologers.
It was a common ancient belief
that a new star appeared at the time of a ruler’s birth. Matthew also draws upon the Old Testament
story of Balaam, who had prophesied that “A star shall advance from Jacob”
(Numbers 24:17), though there, the star means not an astral phenomenon but the
Herod’s consultation with the
chief priests and scribes has some similarity to a Jewish legend about the
child Moses in which the “sacred scribes” warn Pharaoh about the imminent birth
of one who will deliver Israel from Egypt and the king makes plans to destroy
Loving God, help us remember
the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness
of the shepherds, and worship of the wise men. Close the door of hate and
open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every
gift and good desires with every greeting.