During Christmas we dwell on the birth of Christ and we also add in an event that happen some two years after His birth. The visit from the Wise Men from the East, men known as Magi. The Apostle Matthew gives the account:
“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’ When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. So they said to him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.”’ Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.’ When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.” (Matthew 2:1-12)
So much to dissect in this wonderful passage, but I’ll hit on just a few.
First, we find that the wise men did not go to the manger; verse 11 clearly says, “…when they had come into the house…”
Second, the chief priests and scribes knew messianic prophecy, and yet they do not follow the wise men to the house.
Third, even though they did not find the King of the Jews in a palace, they worshipped Him anyway.
That last point is where I want to sit and rest for a bit. The Jews were expecting a Messiah, but clearly from the New Testament accounts they weren’t expecting Jesus, even though He was prophecy fulfilled before their very eyes. Jesus did not fill the mold they had created in their minds of whom Messiah would be.
Plain and simple they missed it.
However, the Magi no doubt were looking for a king the sorts of what they would expect; someone living in a palace and worthy of great treasure. Hence the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. When they found the king in a house, they worshipped Him in His “lowly” state.
Compared to the Disciples delayed worship of Christ, the Magi’s was instantaneous. It took Jesus’ walking on the water to get the Disciples to worship Jesus as the Son of God:
“Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Truly You are the Son of God.’” (Matthew 14:33)
And yet they still fled and hid after His crucifixion. And yet I still hide at times over two thousand years later. Too often our expectations of Christ are from us and not His Word. All that Christ has promised is more than any soul can digest.
We should get over our unfounded expectations and do as the Magi did; worship Christ the Lord. Matthew Henry explains:
We may well think what a disappointment it was to them, when they found a cottage was His palace, and His own poor mother the only attendant He had. However, these wise men did not think themselves baffled; but having found the King they sought, they presented their gifts to Him. The humble inquirer after Christ will not be stumbled at finding Him and His disciples in obscure cottages, after having in vain sought them in palaces and populous cities. Is a soul busy, seeking after Christ? Would it say, “Alas! I am a foolish and poor creature, and have nothing to offer”? Thou hast a heart, though unworthy of Him, dark, hard, and foul—give it to Him as it is, and be willing that He use and dispose of it as it pleases Him; He will take it, and will make it better, and you will never repent having given it to Him. He shall frame it to His own likeness, and will give you Himself, and be yours forever.
We do not worship an infant or child Christ. We do not worship the Jesus who lived on earth for 33 years. We worship the Risen Lord. Christmas without Resurrection Day is an incomplete and hollow story. Let us be like the women at the grave…
“So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, ‘Rejoice!’ So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.’” (Matthew 28:8-10)
Oh that we would rejoice and worship at the feet of our Risen Lord!
Would to God that we would come let us adore Him!
Let us come to Christ the Lord joyful and triumphant!
He was born in a manger, lived in a cottage, and now He rules over Heaven and Earth forevermore!
Let us worship Christ the Lord…
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Copyright © 2012 David Jeffers
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