Matthew 2:1-18

Open your mind and heart as you read the passage of Scripture aloud and then again quietly to yourself. Listen for God’s word to you.




The term Magi is difficult to translate. Scholars debate their identity, but it seems they may have been priests from Persia who were skilled philosophers, and experts in medical matters and the natural sciences. Later the term became associated with sorcery but the Magi in Matthew’s Gospel were holy men who sought the truth. There is no mention of there being three of them, other than the fact that the carried three gifts; nor are they called kings in Scripture. Legend has given them names – Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar – and even described them and allocated each gift to each one of them.

Melchior is said to have given gold for the King; Caspar is allocated frankincense for the Priest (the term priest was understood as one who builds a bridge between man and God); and Balthasar was said to have given myrrh, a gift to be used to embalm One who has died.

Although surrounded by legend, the actual coming of the Magi is no legend. It was exactly the kind of event that would have happened in the ancient world. Their coming to the cradle of Christ was a sign that this Child had come for the whole world.

Astrology was an important science in those days. The Magi would have known the unchanging courses of the stars. To find a new star would have attracted attention and have been a sign to them that something special was happening. There is no record of which star the Magi actually saw, although there were several possibilities that occurred at that time. However there was a strange expectation in the world that a king was coming. Even Roman historians felt it and recorded it.

Herod was threatened and angered by the prospect of a Child who would rival his position as king. The chief priests and scribes he consulted were indifferent to the birth of this Child, even though it was possible that the prophecies they quoted from Micah 5:2 may have been fulfilled. Only the Magi, as they followed the advice of the religious leaders, went to Bethlehem to worship. This was their goal – to worship the new born King.

The ancient world believed God spoke to people in dreams, and the Magi seemingly had no problem in following what they had heard in their dreams and in changing their plans to go straight home by another route, thus frustrating Herod’s plan to murder the Child. This gave Joseph and Mary time, in response to Joseph’s own dream, to leave Bethlehem themselves and head for Egypt where Herod had no jurisdiction.

Daily Meditations

Day 1

What do your dreams mean to you? Do you record them? Does God use them to speak to you? Spend some time considering and praying about these questions and how your dreams may make a difference to your relationship with God.

Day 2

What do you do on a regular (daily?) basis to deepen your inner world and to enter the presence of Christ? What does God say about this? What does He want you to do? Listen today for His guidance.

Day 3

What is life asking of you at this time? Ask God and listen for His response if you are not sure.

Day 4

How goes it with your soul at the beginning of 2022? Are you willing to follow a new path at God’s invitation?

Day 5

Are you willing to open your heart and be changed by God? Why do you answer in this way What do you want to say to God at the beginning of this year? And what does He reply?


Barclay, William. The Daily Study Bible, The Gospel of Matthew, Volume 1. The Saint Andrew Press, Edinburgh, 1991

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