Magi in the Gospel of Matthew Term Paper

Pages: 6 (2138 words)  ·  Style: Turabian  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  Level: College Freshman  ·  Topic: Theology

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] [footnoteRef:12] The Magi had to be warned in a dream, from God, that they should not report to Herod, indicating that they understood the spiritual importance of Jesus: in their innocence, they did not suspect the ill will of Herod and that is why they required a direct warning from God not to speak to him of Christ’s whereabouts. [12: Fulton Sheen, “Magi and the Slaughter of the Innocents,” http://www.catholictradition.org/Christmas/christ-child10.htm]

What this passage reveals is that neither the Jews nor the Roman authorities were among the first group to worship Christ. Instead, His true nature was spied by the Gentiles. Nonetheless, Christ would go on to communicate to the Jews—as the very fact of Matthew’s Gospel shows, since it was indeed written for the Jews of Palestine that they might understand what they had missed.

Application

This passage can be applied to contemporary life in a number of ways. First, one can see from it that God does not appeal to one select group of people but rather to all. Nor does He infringe upon the free will of people to do as they would like. For instance, rather than drop a rock on Herod, he simply tells the Magi not to report to Him. He allows Herod to make up his own mind about how he wants to approach Christ. God respects free will. He will never force one to recognize His divinity. This lesson can applied to those of today who are waiting for a sign or waiting for God to move them somehow towards Him. But they are waiting in vain. The signs have already been given. The signs are all around in history and in the world. God is real and His presence can be known if one is willing to look for it. It requires, however, that one have good will. Those who are self-centered, like Herod or the Jews at the time who were only interested in wresting control from the Romans, will miss God’s signs to them.

Likewise, for people who are not born Christians, they too can profit from God’s grace. God wants all to come to Him through Christ. The Magi show that this is possible even if people are of a different religion or race. Being open to the truth is what matters. The Magi were watching and paying attention to their surroundings. They immersed themselves in a study of the world’s religions. They understood the signs to look for—and when one appeared, they responded appropriately. This is what men of good will must do. Today’s people must do no less so that they too can profit from all the good graces that God wishes to share with them. Being open to reality and being of good will are of course the primary conditions for connecting with God.

Bibliography

Blomberg, Craig L. Matthew: an exegetical and theological exposition of Holy Scripture.

Vol. 22. B&H Publishing Group, 1992.

Jeffrey, David L. A dictionary of biblical tradition in English literature. Wm. B.

Eerdmans Publishing, 1992.

Logan, Alastair HB. “Magi and Visionaries in Gnosticism.” Portraits of Spiritual

Authority: Religious Power in Early Christianity, Byzantium and the Christian Orient (1999): 27-44.

Nolland, John. “The sources for Matthew 2: 1-12.” The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 60,

no. 2 (1998): 283-300.

Olschki, Leonardo. “The Crib of Christ and the Bowl of Buddha.” Journal of the

American Oriental Society 70, no. 3 (1950): 161-164.

Plummer, Alfred. An Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to S. Matthew. E.

Stock, 1910.

Powell, M. Introducing the New Testament. MI: Baker Academic, 2013.

Sheen, Fulton. “Magi and the Slaughter of the Innocents,”

http://www.catholictradition.org/Christmas/christ-child10.htm [END OF PREVIEW]

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