Matthew 2:1-12 (ESV)
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 saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
Astronomers from the east had followed a star which had informed them of the birth of Jesus, the King of the Jews. They came to pay Him homage, and brought Him gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. We celebrate Christmas by the exchanging of gifts in memory of the gifts of the Magi. But there is more going on here. It had taken the Magi almost two years to reach the area of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. That is some pretty serious dedication. Herod lied to them and sent them on their way, asking them to let him know where they found the child, so he could “come and worship Him.” Yet we know that his goal was not worship at all.
The Magi demonstrate how dedicated we should be in our search for and eagerness to bring our best to the King of Kings. We are in many ways blessed. We have the Gospels that tell the story. We don’t have to travel for years to reach God. All we have to do is turn from our wickedness, and ask Him, and He is faithful to forgive our sins, and to make His dwelling in our hearts.
We have the whole story available to us within the Bible, cover to cover. It has many treasures in it to help us live in a way that is pleasing to Him. There are also warnings in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament about those who would ignore God’s calling. If we ignore such a great salvation, there is no hope left for us.
So seek the King. Worship Him, and Him only. Live in such a way that you will not be embarrassed on the Day of Judgment. For although we are not condemned or forgiven based upon what we do, we will have to answer for careless words, and any wrong that leads others astray. Start the New Year off right, and seek God’s Ways. Praise and worship the God Who did not abandon us in our sin, yet came to seek us, and redeem us. Then, like the Magi, give Him the best you have to offer.
by Virgil Stripes