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Matthew 2:1-12, Epiphany of the Lord

Key Verse

When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
— Matthew 2:10-11

RCL Daily Devotion for Sunday, January 6, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Dr. Kimberly Leetch from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

Epiphany 2019

Main Idea: Hope is a powerful survival tool.

Jews in Jesus’ day were concerned with ending their occupation by Rome. They were seeking signs within their faith tradition for hope and guidance. Matthew’s gospel offered both. The story of Jesus’ birth and the visit by the magi (astrologers, also seeking signs from the heavens— the skies) set up Jesus not only as the one to save Israel from Roman rule, but also the deliverer promised by God by the prophets.

Interestingly, the prophets proclaimed variations in their stories of the deliverer. Some placed the deliverer from the town of Bethlehem. Some from Egypt. Others from Nazareth. Matthew’s gospel solves this conflict by placing Jesus in each of these locations—Jesus was born in Bethlehem, fled from Herod to Egypt, and settled in Nazareth.

But Matthew doesn’t stop there. Not only does Matthew look back at the words of the prophets, but the story also looks forward to the importance of the child. The gifts brought by the magi—gold, frankincense, and myrrh— were gifts for a king, but also gifts used to prepare a body for burial. Even from the beginning, Matthew’s gospel establishes Jesus’ royalty and the work he would do to save the world—death on a cross and resurrection.

Matthew’s gospel brings hope to a weary people. Even the messages delivered in dreams convey the hope that God is on their side and will deliver them as God has done so many times before. But in this story, the deliverance isn’t for this life only, but for eternal life. The salvation isn’t just for people, but for all of creation.

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