The Magi, image by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P., via Flickr; licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
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Day of Epiphany: Magi Visit
Matthew 2:1-23 Commentary
by Cory Driver
The story of the visit of the Magi, the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt, and even their haphazard return to the Holy Land should help us reflect on the plights of those who cross religious, political, and ethnic boundaries in the pursuit of loving Jesus.
The first people we must study in the text are the Magi. Contrary to the popular Christmas song, these people were not “kings” and there is little reason to think there were three of them.
Elsewhere in the Greek New Testament (for example, Acts 13:6) the (singular) term for magi is translated as “magician.” As early as Herodotus’ writings in the mid-5th century BCE, Greek writers used the term as a pejorative for those who did mysterious acts, such as interpreting dreams or deducing meanings from the stars. Far from being a generic Greek term, however, the word Magi originally meant the religious leaders of the Medes in the Avestan language of Zoroastrian scriptures. Because Matthew’s gospel points out that Jesus’ visitors were “Magi from the East,” the meaning here is probably less about magicians and more about Zoroastrian priests.
These priests left the fire temples to their god Ahura Mazda to travel hundreds of miles to honor and ...
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Summer Readings (2019)
2019-20 Worship resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL Podcast 343: Magi Visit
January 06, 2019
Podcast on Matthew 2:1-23, the Narrative Lectionary readings for Jan. 6, 2019 (Magi Visit) featuring Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Kathryn Schifferdecker. Recorded at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn., for Working Preacher.