Sunday, September 17, 2006

Matthew part 2

So remembering that this is a Jewish man, writing for a Jewish audience, the subversive and radical nature of Matthews gospel continues to inspire me. He sets the stage for a Jesus that is ofcourse very subversive and radical Himself, and shows us just how upside down the kingdom really is.

In chapter two we read about the visit of the Eastern royalty. Now we know these are not the first visitors to come and worship Jesus. In fact reading Luke we understand that on the very day of Jesus birth he was worshipped by some jewish shepherds out in the fields. And then on the eighth day after his birth, as is the Jewish tradition we come to the temple, where a prophet of God recognizes Jesus' call, and having been promised he would see the Christ before he dies, is happy to go do that now that he has seen Jesus. And another devout Jewish woman, who worships night and day in the temple worships Jesus as well.

But Matthew doesn't speak of these events. Matthew doesn't tell about family visits either. He tells of an event that happened over a year later. The visit of the magi, or astrologers from the East. Matthew tells his Jewish audience that the Christ, the king of the Jews, is born in Bethlehem, and the first people that he tells us about coming to recognize the king, are not only not Jewish, but those that practice astrology. And the current king of Jerusalem, wants to kill this baby, but these non Jewish foreigners actually hear from God and do their part in saving the child.

Right from the start of his gospel Matthew is showing that Jesus though Jewish himself, and as messiah the heir to the throne of David. Jesus who is the coming King, the saviour of Israel, is also destined to be the saviour of the entire world. And gives us a hint that in actual fact, the world will see this, and respond, when many Jewish men and women will not.


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