Although there is nothing in the Gospel of Matthew about camels, kings or even how many of the strange magi visited the child Jesus and his mother Mary – there are enough details to provide much pondering. The first chapter of Matthew’s gospel – although we are given a full (stylised) rendering of the genealogy of Jesus and then the announcement of the pending birth of Jesus from Joseph’s perspective – no information is given to provide any clue about the exact location in time or space of the events (beyond the genealogy) and no human has actually spoken a single word – only angels have spoken so far. So when the second chapter opens with a brief mention of the name of Jesus, we are told where and when he was born and we are then introduced to the central characters of this part of the story – the magoi. In fact, they are given the right and privilege to be the first humans to speak, as they ask their question: “where is the child to be born?” It is interesting that in this most Jewish of all the Gospels, that the first words are allowed to be spoken by people who are not only non-Jewish, but so totally removed from the whole Jewish story of creation, salvation and prophecy. Which leads to the question of what role strangers like this are going to have in the whole of the story, and why they are here if not at least in part to provide something like the first-fruits of the great Gospel commission that will conclude this same Gospel of Matthew in chapter 28.

Recorded at St Paul’s, 8am (8 mins)
Epiphany Sunday. Matthew 2:1-12