Isaiah 54 & Matthew 2

Isaiah 54

    “Sing, O barren one, who did not bear;
        break forth into singing and cry aloud,
        you who have not been in labor!
    For the children of the desolate one will be more
        than the children of her who is married,” says the LORD.
    “Enlarge the place of your tent,
        and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
    do not hold back; lengthen your cords
        and strengthen your stakes.
    For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,
        and your offspring will possess the nations
        and will people the desolate cities.
    “Fear not, for you will not be ashamed;
        be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced;
    for you will forget the shame of your youth,
        and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
    For your Maker is your husband,
        the LORD of hosts is his name;
    and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
        the God of the whole earth he is called.
    For the LORD has called you
        like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit,
    like a wife of youth when she is cast off,
        says your God.
    For a brief moment I deserted you,
        but with great compassion I will gather you.
    In overflowing anger for a moment
        I hid my face from you,
    but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
        says the LORD, your Redeemer.
    “This is like the days of Noah to me:
        as I swore that the waters of Noah
        should no more go over the earth,
    so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you,
        and will not rebuke you.
    For the mountains may depart
        and the hills be removed,
    but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
        and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,”
        says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
    “O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted,
        behold, I will set your stones in antimony,
        and lay your foundations with sapphires.
    I will make your pinnacles of agate,
        your gates of carbuncles,
        and all your wall of precious stones.
    All your children shall be taught by the LORD,
        and great shall be the peace of your children.
    In righteousness you shall be established;
        you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;
        and from terror, for it shall not come near you.
    If anyone stirs up strife,
        it is not from me;
    whoever stirs up strife with you
        shall fall because of you.
    Behold, I have created the smith
        who blows the fire of coals
        and produces a weapon for its purpose.
    I have also created the ravager to destroy;
        no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed,
        and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.
    This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD
        and their vindication from me, declares the LORD.”

(Isaiah 54 ESV)

Matthew 2

    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, saying, “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.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

    “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
        are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
    for from you shall come a ruler
        who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
        Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

    Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

    Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

    “A voice was heard in Ramah,
        weeping and loud lamentation,
    Rachel weeping for her children;
        she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”
        But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead.” And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.

(Matthew 2 ESV)

Matthew 2: There’s an interesting scene that takes place shortly after the birth of Jesus. We have heard the story so often that it tends to lose its sense of awe and wonder, but this scene consists of some unlikely worshippers with some uncommon gifts. These unlikely worshippers were the “wise men from the east” or Magi as they were often called which was an ancient word from which we get the words 'magic' and 'magician'. Magi were known as pagan specialists that pursued supernatural knowledge and were experts in astrology, magic and sorcery. To put it plainly, pagan sorcerers were traveling hundreds of miles to worship the newborn King named Jesus - God was already drawing some of the most unlikely worshippers. 

How often do we write off specific types of people as beyond God’s reach or hopelessly lost? Our narrow vision minimizes the redeemable power of God that draws all people to Himself.

And the heart of these unlikely worshippers becomes evident in their uncommon gifts. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh are not typical gifts to celebrate a new baby; these were rare expensive gifts that were typically set apart for royalty. We have much to learn from these unlikely worshippers who brought the best of their treasures and offered them in worship to an infant King.