Two millennia ago, our promise-keeping God delivered the Savior of the world to His waiting people. And those who saw and heard and knew, responded. They came and they worshiped. We know the story well. Or do we?
There’s much that we do not know about the wise men and the account of their pilgrimage to Bethlehem. When we think of wise men, many of us visualize three royal personages riding on camels to the stable in Bethlehem. Isn’t it amazing how much Hollywood and Christmas card artwork has shaped our perception of Biblical history?
- We don’t know how many wise men there were.
- We don’t know where they came from…just the East.
- We don’t know what kind of star they saw.
- We don’t know how old Jesus was when they arrived.
- We don’t know where Jesus was when they arrived.
So then, what DO WE KNOW about the wise men?
- We do know they were magi.
- We do know they came from far away.
- We do know that they believed that Jesus deserved to be worshiped.
- We do know that they were generous with their gifts.
What Matthew does tell us is extremely significant: “… they fell down and worshiped him; and opening their treasures, they presented to him gifts…” (Matt. 2:11). We can learn some wise lessons from the wise men of old – lessons about wise worship.
The word worship is full of meaning, expressing the idea of falling down, prostrating oneself, and kissing the feet or the hem of the garment of the one honored.
It is estimated that the wise men were on the road for four years – two years each way – for the purpose of spending just a few moments at the feet of baby Jesus.
I wonder how much it cost them?
What about their families? Their careers? Yet, if we could ask them if they’d do it again, my hunch is we would hear a resounding YES!
What does it cost us to worship?
If the laws of our land prohibited all group worship, would we worship anyway? Our answer, to a large degree, depends on whether or not worship is important to us. Do we ever feel compelled to bow low before our God? When was the last time we knelt together before Jesus? I know that many of us are reserved and sophisticated, but we’re not talking about social graces. When we worship, we come into His presence and that just may compel us to worship like the wise men.
What would you give to Jesus if you were one of the magi? Gold? Perhaps. Frankincense and myrrh? Possibly. But really, more than anything, He wants our worship and adoration. Not from the vantage of fear, but from the perspective of love, intimacy and reverence.
As 2017 comes to a close, may we all see and hear and know the One through Whom the world was saved; Whose love is so great and His grace so vast that He welcomes us to sit at His feet…
Christ the Lord, Whom we worship.
We live because He was born to die,