The reading plan continues for the week after Easter. The reading for Wednesday after Easter is Matthew 2:1-12. (If you want to listen, scroll to the bottom of that page for the audio links.)
Tom Wright goes back to pick up a few of the sections he skipped in Matthew in order to show how God’s people should view the world after the resurrection.
“We begin with that wonderful story about the three wise men. Here, Matthew is saying, Jesus was already mysteriously revealed as ‘Lord of the world’ — even though the present Jewish ruler, the sad and bad old king Herod, had no interest in such things except to kill enough people (in this case, little babies) to make sure nobody would upset his own shaky grip on power. Wise men from the East: we are not told here that they were ‘kings’, though later legend has seen them as such.
“Certainly Matthew intends them as representatives of the ‘many who will come from east and west’ to share the ancient Jewish dream of God’s kingdom, and all because of Jesus (see 8.11). By the same token, he is seeing Herod as typical of those ‘sons of the kingdom’ who will, at the same time, miss out on the promise. As John the Baptist would say in the next chapter, God can raise up ‘children of Abraham’ from these stones (3.9).
“The story of the three wise men, then, can be seen in the light of Easter as a great encouragement to the little church as it sets off on its mission to the wider world: the wider world has already heard about him and begun to come looking for him! . . .”
“The wisdom of the East, including the stargazing which was such a major part of ancient learning, had brought the wise men to the point where they were ready to travel to the land of the Jews to find the new king. But they needed help to find the right spot. Help was at hand in the form of the Jewish scriptures. They and they alone provided the clue to Bethlehem. Without them, the wise men had simply ended up at the wrong address — a dangerous place to be, as anyone in Herod’s court could have told them. But, with great irony, the chief priests and scribes who have told the travelers where to find the royal child have no interest in going themselves to see whether it’s true.”
“TODAY: Risen Lord, give us a vision of the whole world coming to worship at your feet, and enable us to play a part in bringing that to reality.”