Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
(The Advent: Faces within the Christmas Story.)
Matthew 2:1-2 (NIV)
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and 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.”
Matthew 2:1-2 (MSG)
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory— this was during Herod’s kingship—a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, “Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship him.”
“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king (Herod the Great), magi (wise men) from the east came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” -AMPLIFIED
We now switch from Luke’s account of the birth of Christ to Matthew’s account. We have addressed Joseph’s encounter with the angel; found in the book of Matthew. Now we will address the Magi and their part in the Christmas story.
The Magi or magoi were educated men who studied the science’s, in particular astronomy, the study of the stars. These wise men hailed from the east, from the land of the Medes and Persians; which would be modern day Iran. It is thought that they belonged to a priestly group who were possibly followers of Zoroaster. Zoroaster taught of the struggle between truth (right) and lie (wrong). He emphasized the idea that each person had the ability to choose right or wrong. Zoroaster taught that each individual was responsible for their own deeds.
Remember what the angel told the shepherds? This little child was good news for everyone everywhere! The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Listen! I bring good news, news of great joy, news that will affect all people everywhere. Today, in the city of David, a Liberator has been born for you! He is the promised Anointed One, the Supreme Authority! You will know you have found Him when you see a baby, wrapped in a blanket, lying in a feeding trough.” -Luke 2:10-12 (VOICE)
It was the Apostle Paul who reminded us that God sent His one and only Son for all mankind. Paul said, “This God made us in all our diversity from one original person, allowing each culture to have its own time to develop, giving each its own place to live and thrive in its distinct ways. 27 His purpose in all this was that people of every culture and religion would search for this ultimate God, grope for Him in the darkness, as it were, hoping to find Him. Yet, in truth, God is not far from any of us. 28 For you know the saying, “We live in God; we move in God; we exist in God.” And still another said, “We are indeed God’s children.” -Acts 17:26-28 (VOICE)
Matthew implies that these wise men were looking for the truth. Matthew tells us that these learned men came to Jerusalem seeking the ONE who had been born the king of the Jews. They knew of his birth because of what they had observed in their study of the stars and they were eagerly seeking Him. They had an urgency to find Him; why? Matthew tells us why; in order to worship Him. Wise men seek the One, True King!
Tradition tells us that there were three; possibly four men. This was because there were three gifts; gold, frankincense and myrrh, but we truly do not know how many men were included in this search for the King. What we do know is that they followed a star to find Him and when they found Him they worshiped Him.
Wise men and women still seek after God. “Now set your heart and your soul to seek (inquire of, require as your vital necessity) the Lord your God.” -1 Chronicles 22:19a (AMP)
Lord, may I too be willing to seek you so diligently. These wise men had their priorities straight and they would let nothing stop them from finding what they were seeking. Help me too to have that diligence in seeking and in serving you. I need some tenacity, Lord. Remind me that my job is to seek first the Kingdom of God and then everything else I need will be taken care of. Help me to wisely continue to seek you in every area of my life.