Matthew 2:1-11

One of the greatest difficulties believers have is translating their dreams, visions, or revelations into realities. This is because they are not able to discern the dream or vision. Some who see the dreams are not able to interpret them. There is a third group who can interpret the dreams but do nothing about them. In this reflection we shall use the birth of Jesus as a case study.

Matthew’s Gospel calls them magi—but what are magi? Are they kings? Wise men? Sorcerers? Astrologers? Whatever they are, they are anyone seeking the reality of a dream or vision. The term magi is the precise Greek word used in Matthew’s gospel. His story demonstrates that the Magi were astrologers and interpreters of omens—following a star and dreaming dreams.

The Greek word for the wise men is μαγοι, (magi). It is from this word that we get our word magician. At that time, the boundary between those who attempted to perform occult experiments and those who performed legitimate science would have been blurred. For example, early chemists were alchemists, trying to change one substance into another (usually gold) by all sorts of methods, including incantations, but also including methods that we would recognize today as experimental chemistry. Similarly, these magicians could probably be referred to as scientists in a broader sort of way.

The scripture says, “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem…Where is He who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him” (Mathew 2:1-2).

The inquiry attracted some search. The priest were aware of the place where the child would be born, but they did not bother to search for the child. They knew from scriptures: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting” (Micah 5:2).

The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people (Genesis 49:10). It was the chief priests who told the wise men about the birth of Christ as these chief priests coupled Micah 5:2 with a reference to Genesis 49:10, as adapted in 2 Samuel 5:2..

This passage from Genesis refers to the coming Messiah, to be descended from Judah so, by inference, we can suggest that Numbers 24:17 also refers to the coming Messiah. “see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult” (Numbers 24:17). Daniel himself prophesied much about the Messiah (Daniel 9:25-26).

We must have a dream like Joseph in Genesis 37:6, to be able to pursue the dream. What is your dream for this year? Sometimes, it is possible to dream another dream to be able to interpret the dream clearly. There is need for inquiry like the wise men did but they were the ones that went searching for the child. They travelled through desert seeking the object of their dream. The search can be a great deal of ambiguity but we must make efforts to achieve the dream. After inquiry from others, we need to return to the star like the wise men did. “And, behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them.”

It is better to put those who have the dream/vision in charge of it like Herod did to Joseph because they may have the patience, motivation and dedication to search and find the object of their dream. Pharaoh clothed Joseph like a king, “and they called out before him, ‘Bow the knee!’ Thus [Pharaoh] set him over all the land of Egypt” (Genesis. 41:43).

May God give us light in Jesus Name.


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Vanessa Lawson
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