Matthew 2:1-2; Matthew 28: 16-20
When recently watching the movie "Wonka," I figured out a foreshadowing. (Normally my wife Sara is the one who catches such subtleties). Hugh Grant's Oompa Loompa character states that he is the tallest of the Oompa Loompas, but in a flashback, I noticed he is actually shorter than others. This fact plays a small part in the film's finale.
As we approach Epiphany, there is a foreshadowing in the story of the Magi that we might overlook. See if you notice it.
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
The foreshadowing? From the east. From outside of Israel. Very interesting that early in Matthew, the most Jewish of the Gospels, we witness non-Jews, or gentiles, in the Jesus story. Throughout his gospel, Matthew sees Jesus through a Jewish filter, explaining how Jesus fulfills the Jewish hope for a Messiah, carefully connecting Jesus to the Law and the Prophets. Wandering gentiles are anomalies in this focused gospel, strangers and outcasts in the minds of people with Matthew's background.
Until the finale. The very last verses of Matthew connect back to the ones that located the young Jesus, as now Jesus sends his disciples out to find and teach such gentiles.
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Make disciples of all nations. The gentiles are to be included in Jesus' fledgling church, which brings all people together. The Magi are physically present at the start of Matthew and spiritually present at the end.
Jesus taught elsewhere in Matthew, "All who seek will find." All seekers will find. Regardless of who they are, the ones who journey to Jesus will find him. He remembers the strangers and outcasts and loves them too, not just people we have defined in our minds as chosen. During Epiphany and beyond, let us keep in mind the precious inclusion of today's Magi seekers in God's kingdom.
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