To Worship a King
I always wondered as a kid why the retail manger scenes included the wise men at the nativity event. Scripture is clear that after the birth of Christ the wise men saw the star, and when they came to see the ‘young child’ at the house, Jesus was likely around two years old. It would be great to see a Christmas scene on someone’s mantel featuring the wise men, their camels, along with Mary and Joseph in their home with the ‘young child.’
Christ was born in Bethlehem as predicted by the prophets, and came from the kingly line of Judah (Micah 5:2). The wise men who came brought three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Tradition usually tells of three wise men, but there were likely many as they would often travel in large caravans. Interesting that few even noticed Christ in His early years, yet these wise men travelled for hundreds of miles to see the new King.
In some of the mystery of this wonderful story, as we picture these wealthy men surrounding the humble family, is the fact that they gave up much to see the Saviour. We may forget that they left home, and were willing to suffer the expense of such a long journey. We do not really know how they identified the ‘star’ as a sign of Israel’s King, but somehow they had faith in their search. It seems strange, that here the Saviour of the world is born in Israel, but it is foreigners from a distant land who seek Him out.
It would not be too unthinkable that the wise men could have decided to do something different. After all, there are always the day to day plans, the family projects, or the scheduled business trips; but for these men what mattered most was of eternal importance. Therefore they chose to do that which had an important spiritual significance in their lives.
The lesson is simple. Our lives can pull us in many different directions, many of them good, and possibly others that are not so good. But within that struggle, there is such a benefit in making sure that we are always focused on those things that are of eternal importance, the things that really matter. During this time in the life of Israel, most were oblivious of the Child who was growing up so close to them; some, like Herod, feared the new King; but it was only the wise men who sought out the Christ-Child. Imagine the joy, the wonderment, the emotion of the wise men as they come before the King. What brings us satisfaction? What lifts our emotions? What makes us sing? What gives us joy? It is only found in the Child born in Bethlehem, the One the wise men looked for!
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