Herod and the Magi

Study Guide

For King Herod and even many people of Jerusalem, the birth of the Messiah is a threat—to them, a new King is in daunting competition with their control or comfort. To the Magi, who seem to be on the “outside”, Jesus is freedom and joy. How can those on the “outside” receive Jesus as King while those on the “inside” reject him?
  1. From the very beginning of Jesus’ life on earth, the coming of the Magi tells the story of those on the outside, who don’t “belong”, being used as part of God’s story. How have you felt like you don’t belong? What do the gospel and the birth of Jesus tell you about belonging and who you belong to?

  2. Matt mentions that we, like Jerusalem, often feel threatened by the idea of a King over our lives. Instead, we tend to want a genie who will give us what we want. How does Jesus as King either comfort or threaten you? Like Matt’s story of being young and wanting to be in control, when in your life have you wanted to maintain control instead of surrendering to Jesus’ reign over your life? What or how can you surrender to him today?

  3. The gifts of the Magi are offered to Jesus in validation of his value and glory. Jesus doesn’t need the gifts, but the idea of worship is to deplete ourselves of our riches and self in recognition that they belong to God first. In what ways can we express this worship? What is one act of worship that you need to lean into this week?

  4. This season for us can be a season of renewal. How are you living a life that is worthy of what God is calling you to? Is there something in your life that you are hiding or where you might be living in a way that is dishonorable? To whom are you going to confess? If there is something you know God wants you to do that you are hiding from or being resistant to, what is it?

  5. If you are not a Christian, how might you be relying on your own goodness to be in right standing with God? Are you willing to abandon your goodness and recognize that Jesus’ death covers your sins? Jesus did and is coming into the world as both Savior and King—but is he coming into your world?

Scripture Reference

Scripture: Matthew 2:1-12

Topics: Herod, Humility, King, Magi, Messiah, Savior, Worship