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What do you do with Jesus? This is an age old question. Is he a great teacher? Is he a prophet? Is he just another religious leader? Or is he something more? In a world that seems to be searching for answers about who Jesus is, Matthew’s gospel does not leave room for a lot of doubt. In the opening chapter, Matthew has taken great pains to show us that Jesus heir to the promises to Abraham and to David the king.

Now here in Matthew chapter 2, we begin to see that Jesus is not a neutral figure. It is not uncommon to see Matthew 2:1-12 retold each year around Christmas. I mean after all many of us justify the tradition of giving gifts, because the wise men brought gifts to Jesus. However, it is unfortunate that fundamental message of these verses is lost by our modern depictions of these magi from the east.

We see them show up in Jerusalem asking “Where is He who has been born king of the Jews?” (2:2). But this question is not met with joyous celebration but uneasiness and agitation. We read that “Herod…was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him” (2:3). In a city that should have been longing for God to send a king in the line of David, this announcement should have been met with great joy, but it wasn’t.

While it might be understandable that Herod was upset by this announcement, the response of “all the chief priests and scribes of the people” is particularly troubling. They know the scriptures. They know that the Messiah is to be born in Bethlehem, but they don’t care. Now you might say that is a little harsh, but don’t be quick to excuse them. They have heard that a Messiah-like figure has been born and know where to find him, but they don’t go anywhere!

This is what makes the wise men, such important characters. They have traveled hundreds of miles to find a Jewish king. Instead of responding in apathy or agitation, “they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy” at just seeing the star that mark the Messiah’s location (2:10). They did not just come to see Jesus, they came and “fell down and worshiped him.” That is the bottom line. There is only one one proper response to Jesus: Worship!