“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi afrom the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6“ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’ b ” 7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” 9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.” Matthew 2.1-12
The one question the Magi asked of King Herod is a question we all should be asking — “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?”
This, of course, is a question King Herod was afraid of but that the Magi and all faithful Jews should be asking. We know that the Jews as a whole rejected Jesus as Messiah, but that many believers today follow this tiny babe born in a stable and laid in a manger in Bethlehem. More than one third of the world acknowledge this baby as God.
But today, I am focusing specifically on what these Magi, or wisemen from the East, did to prepare for the coming of the Messiah so that we might imitate their actions and so give God praise and glory and worship him.
First, they took a trip. They traveled to the location where they heard he was going to be born. These magi were obedient in going where God sent them. Even they were uncertain as to the exact location, they went any way hoping to find further help and direction along the way. In the same way, we are to listen to the voice of the Lord and go forth in obedience to where he is calling us to serve and bear witness to his good works.
Second, they met with the leading official of that day — King Herod. Now we know the king was evil and threatened by the birth of the Jewish Messiah, but nonetheless, they met with him and asked for information on the whereabouts of the Christ. We too are called not to be afraid of our governmental officials but to testify about our faith to them.
Third, they found the baby Jesus, presented him with gifts and worshipped him while in his presence. This is an easy one to interpret — worship Jesus. Present him the gift of your heart, mind, soul and strength. Love him more than you love yourself and tell others about your love and allegiance to Jesus as King.
Fourth, the Magi returned home by a route that did not put themselves or Jesus in danger. They weren’t running from danger but they were met by an angel who warned them of Herod. They were using common sense so as not to walk directly into danger. They returned home and most certainly told others of the Christ Child born into this world.
They one thing all these things have in common is “activity.” The Magi were active in seeking, worshiping and telling others about Christ. They did not just sit home and hope to see Jesus. They went looking for him.
Are we seeking Jesus? Are we preparing for Jesus by looking for the one born as a babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger? Why not do so today? The Prophet Isaiah suggests, “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call on him while he is near.” Isaiah 55.6
“O Lord God, you are good. Thank you for loving us and for allowing us to walk in newness of life. Come now, Holy Spirit, help us find strength in you and your name. Come and fill us with your power and your presence that we might be actively seeking your face and telling others about you. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen