Acts of Advent 18

What is hinted at in the Benedictus of Zechariah and in the Gloria in excelsis of the Angels, and what comes out into clear focus with Simeon, becomes concrete reality in Matthew’s Gospel, chp 2. The magi, Gentile star gazers, are the ones who offer gifts to the will-be king in the face of Herod the Great, the must-be king.

They come from afar; they come to Jerusalem in search of the king of the Jews; they come in search of the one who will shepherd Israel in spite of being born in lowly Bethlehem. Gentiles, each of them – we don’t know how many of them by the way. Tradition tells us there were three and tradition gives us their names (you know the names?).

And they worship. The first worshipers of the Messianic king is not the king, Herod; it is not Jerusalem’s leaders like the Sadducees or Herodians or Pharisees. The first ones to worship Jesus and to offer him (Christmas) presents were Gentiles.

Christmas is about accepting the worship of the ever-expanding community of God that seeks redemption in Jesus Christ.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.