This week, as we start Matthew Chapter 2, we are in Jerusalem about two years after the birth of Jesus. Herod the Great is the Roman-supported, self-proclaimed King of the Jews and finds himself visited by Magi from the East looking for “one who has been born king of the Jews.”
As the story unfolds, Herod and the religious leaders of the day are disturbed as their power is threatened. Yet, the Magi are delighted as they worship and bring gifts to the King even though they likely do not begin to comprehend just Who it is they have traveled to see.
The theme of the reaction of the political and Jewish religious leaders as compared to the gentiles is already in play this early in the story of Jesus’ life. This same theme will play out throughout his life and death.
So many things about the life and teaching of Jesus, starting with His arrival, are not as we perhaps would have expected. As we continue through the Gospel of Matthew, it is imperative that we keep the eyes of our hearts open to working of God in and through Jesus. Somewhere along the line, probably in many places, we are likely to have our expectations challenged. Are we willing to hear what Jesus teaches and not just what we want Him to teach or what we always thought He meant?
If Jesus is the unexpected messiah, are we willing to expect the unexpected?
Are we willing to accept the unexpected?
Matthew knows that the life and teaching of Jesus will challenge its hearers…so Matthew is challenging his readers from the outset.