Do you ever read Scripture and have more questions than answers?
Sometimes, ideally, the answers you seek are found in other parts of Scripture. Other times, if you’re lucky, a Biblical scholar may have spent months going through dusty old tomes of historical and cultural documents and written about what he’s/she’s learned.
Then there are the times like those found in Matthew 2:1-12. After the birth of Jesus, visitors from the East came to see Him. To meet Him. To worship Him.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1-2, NLT
Okay, stop right there. See what I mean?
Where did they come from?
Did they come together?
Did they come from different lands and meet on the road somewhere?
Did they connect in Jerusalem?
Were they there at the birth or some time later?
Or did they arrive when He was a toddler?
How did they travel, on foot or a beast of burden? Which beast?
What kind of terrain did they encounter? People? Difficulties?
What cool things did they see?
We know they were wise men, but did they serve in their king’s court? As teachers? Scientists?
What was so unusual about the star that made them follow it?
HOW DID THEY KNOW Jesus was the king of the Jews?
Who told them?
Did God tell them?
C’mon, give a girl some details! Build the intrigue, the suspense!
Beloved, that’s exactly what Matt was doing!
Remember Matt’s primary audience was Jewish, and he wrote to present evidence that Jesus Christ was their long-awaited Messiah. (Read about the Intro to Matt here)
Oh yes, his original readers knew precisely who this man was. He made the Pharoah at the time of the Israelites’ escape look like a pussycat. As soon as their eyes fell on his name you could hear the vaudeville organ—dun-dun-dun-duuuuuun!
Evil-minded. Wicked. Malicious. Murderous. Cunning. Hate-filled. Jealous. Power-hungry. Mean. Cruel. Vicious. A snake—just a few words to describe him.
Though he was a Jew, he didn’t have their best interests at heart as he ruled. He had a lust for power and did whatever he could to hold onto it. He wasn’t above killing family members or his children if he felt the least bit threatened by them.
So as these out-of-town guests arrived in his court seeking the whereabouts of this child, the tension was there. Palatable. Tangible. Constricting.
This was history for the original Jewish reader. They knew the outcome of this seemingly benign event. Thus, their tension was at an all-time high as they read. Many remembered and others heard tell of the massive massacre of little boys, newborn to two-years of age, after Herod went into a rage once he realized these visitors didn’t report back to where they had seen the child. Fear consumed him as did the hand of Satan in his own quest to destroy the child. Herod feared the child would grow up and take his throne, his power, and eventually his life. Satan knew He would destroy his.
This event not only set the stage for Joseph’s dream to take off for Egypt; it also fulfilled three separate prophesies regarding the Jewish Messiah—which added to the three surrounding his lineage and conception provided a substantial foundation for his argument of Jesus being their Messiah.
But what about us Gentiles? Does this passage have anything to say about us?
When God predicts/prophesizes something will happen—Beloved, IT WILL HAPPEN!
There is no way I can understate the significance of this, especially when you consider how much Biblical prophecy remains unfulfilled.
God keeps His promises!
It may not be in our time frame, but it will happen
He is trustworthy; He cannot lie
These men were Gentiles! More than likely, pagan, polytheistic Gentiles.
God wanted them there! He wanted them to be part of His Son’s birth (or childhood)
God invited them to come and worship, just as He invites us to come and worship
These men followed a star to the newborn King of the Jews
A star whose significance everyone else ignored despite the intrigue
A star no one else seemed to follow
I believe God whispered its significance to their heart; they KNEW where they were going and why
I would bet they when they left; they were never the same again
Sometimes, God doesn’t want us to have all the details
Because then it’s harder for us to put ourselves into the story
Where the particulars of their journey are missing, we can fill in with our own
The challenges and dangers they faced
The doubt and wonder; the hope and fear; the curiosity
The detours, sinful desires, and rebellion
Without the details, we don’t know which legs of the journey they had companionship and which they didn’t
Alone or with company, they always knew God was there—they just had to look up and see the star
We don’t have that star overhead today, but if we have acknowledged Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we something better. We have the Spirit, The Comforter, IN us to guide us
If you haven’t accepted Him yet, the Bible tells us God has given us all we need to choose, He has left us with no excuse to reject Jesus because of lack of knowledge. It really is a matter of choice.
There are many resources to learn from—you have to choose to employ them and examine the evidence
Beloved, if this is you—don’t let your pride get in the way. God is there. He always has been. He’s waiting for you to turn and come to Him. He’s already come to you, for you. He’s waiting for you to take that next step.
Stubbornness, a hard heart, an air of entitlement—call it what you want—often have us standing before Him with our hand out expectantly, and defiance etched in our face. We expect God to explain Himself, to prove He is all-that, and present us with gifts.
I want you to know:
God has explained Himself in the Scriptures.
He proved He IS all-that when Jesus rose from the dead conquering sin and death.
And has a gift waiting just for you. It’s beautifully wrapped with your name on the tag. It’s salvation, His Spirit, and eternity with Him.
Because when we come and worship with a pure heart, there is always a time of confession and repentance
Notice these men knelt before Him BEFORE they presented their gifts
They knelt before this poor girl’s son in the presence of his humble adoptive carpenter father
They willingly humbled themselves before the King of Kings in awestruck worship
If we knew what they confessed (out loud or in their heart), we couldn’t fill in the blank with our own
They presented Him with valuable gifts—of wealth and glory.
Symbols of the life He left in Heaven and the life He will lead here on earth—culminating in His death and resurrection.
Gifts of things God had already given them—and they offered back for His use here on earth as a part of their worship
We too have several gifts God has given us: Finances, time, talents, etc.
They might not seem like much in comparison to the ones these men offered, but they are equally as valuable in God’s Hands.
God wants us to use what we have for HIS glory not our own
When we compare our gifts to others and feel as though they are “less than,” we forget what Jesus did what a couple of rolls and a few sardines
It is our heart and intent that gives the gift its value
Beloved, I’m not sure how you filled in the missing detail of this story.
Regardless, I encourage you at this moment to kneel before your King. Confess and repent. Surrender your everything to Him, for His use and glory—time talent, finances, expertise, skills, etc. Then, stand. Go and be the light the guides others to Him, just as that star guided those men so many centuries ago.