They Only Pretended to Wait

[Meditations on Matthew 2:1-12, the visit of the Magi from the East.]

It’s curious that the first to announce the coming of the Messiah (aside from the choir of angels) were people from outside the Jewish faith. They labored to travel from a far off place to see the King of the Jews. According to some scholars, talks about The Sovereign of the World coming out of Judah was prevalent in the Middle East in those days.

Two points worth considering: First, those who came from a far place were more excited to hear the good news than those who were within the vicinity. How typical of us humans. Sometimes, those who have to take three rides are the first to come to church compared to those who live next to the church building.

Second, the Magi expected that they’d come to city full of rejoicing at the birth of the Messiah. Instead, when they inquired, all they got were blank stares. No one knew about the historic birth. And because they were visitors, they had to be taken to Herod the king.

The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin were called to explain to the Roman governor the whereabouts of the birth of the Messiah. They gave correct, Biblical answers but notice this: none of the experts of Biblical prophecies in the council rushed outside the door to go look for the newly birthed Savior.

How was it possible that the keepers of the sacred writings who knew all about the coming Savior didn’t seem to be excited at the idea that the King they’ve all been waiting for had already arrived? How is it possible that the people who professed to wait for the deliverance of Israel were suddenly stone faced and unwilling to welcome their promised King?

And how is it possible that the Magis who came from afar had more enthusiasm in seeing the Messiah than the religious leaders of Israel? Is it really possible to know the Scriptures in your head and not have the slightest awe and wonder at the grand promises it contains?