By Another Route

by Andrew Forrest

“They returned to their country by another route.”

Matthew 2:12b

I think the Magi are among the most interesting characters in the Bible. Probably some kind of Persian or Babylonian stargazers–“wise men”–they saw something in the heavens so compelling that they left their homes and temples and libraries miles away to the East, and journeyed toward Bethlehem. And when they got there, what did they see?

Whatever it was, it changed them. I love how T.S. Eliot imagines them on their return home:

We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.

from “The Journey of the Magi,” by T.S. Eliot

Matthew is more matter-of-fact: “They returned to their country by another route.” See, here’s the truth: encounters with Jesus are always like that. You can’t meet Jesus and continue on as before, unchanged.

What different route or path do you need to take today?

Today’s Scripture

Matthew 2:1-12

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2 comments

Sunny Kern January 3, 2019 - 6:04 am

Certainly an encounter with Jesus demands a response. The Magi and Herod are a contrast in responses which we we see in our reading. But, I was struck by Two different things from the reading. One was that not only was Herod disturbed by the Maji search but all of Jerusalem was too. The second was God’s intervention to protect Jesus from Herod. In the next reading we will read of another step in God’s protection to accomplish his Kingdom purposes.

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Andrew Forrest January 3, 2019 - 7:28 am

Yes: that part about all of Jerusalem being troubled is a great detail. It’s like the people knew how dangerous Herod could be if threatened.

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