Tuesday, January 3, 2012


One cannot help but be inspired by the example of the Wise Men! Their journey from the east involved hundreds of miles, many days, and countless obstacles. Their purpose was clear, their destination not so much. Centuries before their predecessors had been instructed (by the prophet Daniel?) regarding the coming Messiah and “His star.” The time came and they set out crossing “field and fountain, moor and mountain” along the way.

Their stated purpose was to worship the new born King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2). They asked “Where is He?” The chief priests and scribes knew where He was to be born, in Bethlehem—but demonstrated an amazing apathy to the unfolding events. Many have some kind of intellectual affiliation with Jesus. But that is no substitute for worship. Those legalistic religious leaders had plenty of time and energy for religion, but no time for their true ruler. They knew about His birthplace, but could care less of His birth.

King Herod feigned a desire to worship Jesus also. But the true intent of his evil heart was later made evident. In a desperate attempt to eliminate this rival king—he “sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under” (Matthew 2:16). Still today there are many who claim to have some allegiance or alliance with Jesus. They would say with Herod, “So that I too may come to worship Him” (Matthew 2:8). The reality is that that the heart of an unregenerate sinner has no room for Jesus (John 3:20, “For everyone who does evil hates the light”).

The Wise Men were not distracted by the King or discouraged by the apathy of the religious leaders. They were single-minded in their pursuit of the King of the Jews. They saw the star and “rejoiced exceedingly with great joy” (Matthew 2:10). Their experience is shared by all who have been led to the Savior (1 Peter 1:8, “And though you have not seen Him, you live Him, and through you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you great rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory”). They were God-directed to the baby Jesus. You, believer in Christ, have been Spirit-led to the Risen Lord. They rejoiced when they saw the star. Rejoice, believer, in that the Savior has found you!

They brought gifts--gifts that prophetically spoke of the tri-fold identity of the Christ child—King, God, and Savior. He is Immanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23). He is Jesus, who has come to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). He is the King of Jews, the Messiah (Matthew 1:1-17). “Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain; Gold I bring to crown Him again…Frankincense to offer have I: Incense owns a Deity nigh; Myrrh is mind: its bitter perfume breathes a lift of gathering gloom.” The Wise Men presented their treasures—thus helping to fund a quick escape to Egypt.

Worship involves sacrifice. David recognized that: “I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God which cost me nothing” (2 Samuel 24:24). What is the acceptable sacrifice to be presented by the New Testament believer in view of his Spirit-led understanding of the glory of Christ and fullness of His work? Is it not our very lives! Romans 12:1, “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Cf. 2 Corinthians 8:5).

Most are apathetic regarding the Lord Jesus. And some are downright antagonistic! But God has so worked in our hearts, brethren, that we might stand in awe of Him. And, as with the Wise Men, we might honor Him both with our lips and by our lives—that’s the nature of acceptable worship (Cf. Hebrews 13:15-16).

Pastor Jerry

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