DMin Course - PW 813

New Testament Exegesis and Sermon Design

Exegesis Notes - Matthew 2.1-18



Title: They Didn't Just Show Up

Epiphany Text: Matthew 2.1-18


A friend, and former colleague, has a house full of pets - one cat and four dogs. I asked her one day where or how she acquired that many dogs. Well, one was adopted after an elderly couple had to move from their home to a nursing facility. The others, as she put it, "Just showed up!" Now most people know what that means. The dogs were dumped. People, who for various reasons, no longer want or desire their pet. Instead of doing something responsibly, they drive into an outer lying area and literally dump the dog out. As a result, it "shows up" at someone else's door. My friend didn't have the heart to either turn these dogs away or carry them off to a shelter. Instead, when "just showed up," they in effect found a new home.

Well, these foreign visitors in Matthew's text, didn't "just show up." These astrologers came for a reason. They came deliberately. They were drawn to this place for a specific reason and for a specific birth. And they serve as unlikely bearers of God's advent and manifestation into world in Jesus the Christ.

I. Astrologers were common to the people of that era

A. It was common believe that important leaders would be ushered by a star

B. Somehow they were led, perhaps by a star, to this particular place and time

C. This pilgrimage from a far place, the surrendering of their wares, and their worship of Jesus, are evidence of their faith

II. The irony of their faith

A. No one else seemed to believe in Jesus' birth

B. In chapter 1, Matthew traces the lineage of Jesus, but here the foreigners are harbingers of the birth

C. They believed enough to abandon the tools of their trade & risk their lives

III. It was their faith that brought them

A. They were led by their belief in something beyond themselves; it was no accident

B. We are called by God for a reason; it's no accident

C. The mystery that calls us to follow is the presence of God, born into our world in Christ


Sometimes we can't explain God's mysterious presence. Epiphany reminds us that, like the astrologers, something pulls us to God. And what we're pulled toward is not just an event, or just a witness to something. We are pulled into a personal encounter with God in Jesus the Christ. We don't "just show up" in God's presence and become disciples. In Jesus the Christ, we are reminded that God is already living in our midst, calling us, pulling us, loving us into a relationship that changes our lives.