Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” —Matthew 2:1–2
Unlike Luke, Matthew does not tell us about the shepherds coming to visit Jesus in the stable. His focus is immediately on foreigners coming from the east to worship Jesus.
So Matthew portrays Jesus at the beginning and ending of his Gospel as a universal Messiah for the nations, not just for Jews. Here the first worshipers are court magicians or astrologers or wise men not from Israel but from the East—perhaps from Babylon. They were Gentiles. Unclean.
And at the end of Matthew, the last words of Jesus are, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.”
This not only opened the door for the Gentiles to rejoice in the Messiah, it added proof that he was the Messiah. Because one of the repeated prophecies was that the nations and kings would, in fact, come to him as the ruler of the world.
For example, Isaiah 60:3, “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.” So Matthew adds proof to the messiahship of Jesus and shows that he is Messiah— a King, and Promise-Fulfiller—for all the nations, not just Israel.
This excerpt is taken from Good News of Great Joy, by John Piper.