Week One: The Magi – Matthew Ch. 2:1-12
Verse to memorize
“And you, Bethlehem of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah, since from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.” Mt 2:6″
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold magi from the East arrived in Jerusalem, saying “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? 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 Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.'” Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” After their audience with the king, they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped at the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way. (Matthew Ch. 2:1-12 NAB)
1.) Do you know this story of the “Three Kings”?
Well, the Gospel does not call them kings, it calls them “magoi”, that’s Greek for Magi.
2.) And who were the Magi?
Based on ancient historical accounts, the Magi were most likely descendants of a tribe of priests from the kingdom of Persia (which is modern day Iran). They functioned as wise advisers to the Persian kings. According to their religion, they looked for signs of the future by studying the positions of the stars.
3.) The star of Bethlehem was a new star they had never seen. Who made the star appear?
God the Father, also the Creator of the World.
4A.) Why do you think God the Father made the star come from the East and travel to a place right over where Baby Jesus lay?
He wanted the Magi to find Jesus and worship Him.
4B.) Why do you think God the Father wanted foreigners to find Baby Jesus, worship him and give him royal gifts?
There are many possible answers. One is because Jesus was sent to be the “light of the world” not just of the Jews; and because Jesus really is a king, but not of this world; rather of the world to come, which we call “heaven”.
5.) The Magi are known as the Wise Men. How did they show their wisdom in this story?
There are many possible answers:
- They were advisors to kings
- They were willing to travel far to find the meaning of the star
- They obeyed the warning in a dream and did not get fooled by wicked King Herod
- They were not put off by a baby king born in very humble circumstances, a shelter for animals; rather they worshiped Him!
6) Whom do you know in your life who is a wise person?
Courtesy of The Bible Project