MESSIAH FOR THE MAGI - John Piper
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” - Matthew 2:1–2
Unlike Luke, Matthew does not tell us about the shepherds coming to visit Jesus in the stable. His focus is immediately on foreigners coming from the east to worship Jesus. So Matthew portrays Jesus at the beginning and ending of his Gospel as a universal Messiah for the nations, not just for Jews. Here the first worshipers are court magicians or astrologers or wise men not from Israel but from the East—perhaps from Babylon. They were Gentiles. Unclean. And at the end of Matthew, the last words of Jesus are, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.”
This not only opened the door for the Gentiles to rejoice in the Messiah, it added proof that he was the Messiah. Because one of the repeated prophecies was that the nations and kings would, in fact, come to him as the ruler of the world. For example, Isaiah 60:3, “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.” So Matthew adds proof to the messiahship of Jesus and shows that he is Messiah—a King, and Promise-Fulfiller—for all the nations, not just Israel.
I find this devotional to be meaningful because it is talking about me. I am not a Jew, which means I am a Gentile. Although I was born in Michigan, I am of South Korean heritage. The gospel went from Jerusalem all the way to Korea, which is more than 5,000 miles across the world. Thus, I am a very example of how God’s grace has extended to the very ends of the earth.
But God’s grace is not only far reaching, but it is limitless. The most popular worship song at the moment has lyrics that say: “There’s no shadow You won’t light up, mountain You won’t climb up, coming after me / There’s no wall You won’t kick down, no lie You won’t tear down, coming after me.” God’s love for us is the most mind-numbing, indescribable, grand thing that has ever happened. And it is demonstrated in the cross of Jesus Christ, where Jew and Gentile alike bow their knee and are immersed in the blood and grace of the Messiah, where all humans on earth are saved from the just wrath of God by being cleansed by Jesus’ righteousness.
And that is why, just as God’s grace towards us is limitless, our commitment to Him should be limitless.