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Reflective Bible Study Paying Attention: Matthew 2:1-23 Focus Passage: Matthew 2:1-23 (CEV)One of t

Paying Attention: Matthew 2:1-23

Focus Passage: Matthew 2:1-23 (CEV)One of the more interesting thoughts I’ve had when reading about Jesus’ birth story happens while reading about the wise men’s visit to Jerusalem. In the few verses that focus on their time spent in this city, I wonder about an idea that Matthew includes. Matthew opens this portion of Jesus’ birth story by saying, “When Jesus was born in the village of Bethlehem in Judea, Herod was king. During this time some wise men from the east came to Jerusalem and said, “Where is the child born to be king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.’” (v. 1-2) Perhaps these wise men had seen the star, and they simply traveled to Jerusalem believing Jerusalem to be the place for such a celebration to occur. In their minds, an event of this much significance would be known and publicized in this key city. However, the response that Matthew shares is interesting: “When King Herod heard about this, he was worried, and so was everyone else in Jerusalem.” (v. 3) From the way Matthew records this, it seems that Jerusalem was only worried following Herod’s worry. Herod was known as one of the most ruthless ruler’s of that era, and in many ways, his attitude and opinion had a way of trickling down to others present. If the king was worried, we should be worried to, because at the very least, we have no idea what the king will do. This also surprises me a little because Herod seems to be the first person to actually pay attention to what is happening. The star had been visible for enough time for the wise men to have traveled a great distance, which may have taken weeks, or even months, and it seems that the only ones paying attention to this sign were those living far away from Israel. Out of all those living in Jerusalem, Herod seemed to be the only one concerned about the birth of this upcoming king. Everyone else probably was more concerned with how Herod would respond. While Herod didn’t know the prophecies or even signs to look for, he did know to pay attention to the sign he had – and that was the one of some long-distance travelers. Surprisingly, Herod can teach me that I don’t have to be the smartest person to have wisdom when signs come. I simply have to pay attention. The chief priests and other leaders knew the prophecies, and if they had been looking, they may have seen the signs as well. In my own life, the best case scenario is if I were to keep my eyes open to what God is doing around me, but the ne