At the moment of the most significant birth in history, what does it look like to be wise?
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 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.”
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When 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.’”
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He 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.”
9 After 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. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On 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.12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
What a story! The wisest of people following a star across the country…a jealous king… expensive gifts… All because of one birth- the most significant birth in history! It’s a story that we often hear of through Christmas carols and nativity plays, but reading it straight from God’s Word can really help us to see the gravity of the events that occurred when our hero was born.
These days, we expect important babies to be visited by important people, and it certainly is easy to spread the news through TV and social media. I wonder if Mary and Joseph were expecting the visitors that came. They didn’t have Facebook to let people know that the baby had been born, but the Magi still knew. They saw the new star that God placed in the sky, and understood its significance. They travelled across the land to worship the one born King of the Jews. The Magi knew that it was a wise choice to seek Jesus.
King Herod wasn’t as wise as the Magi, but he was very powerful. He was the king, and he was very disturbed when he heard that another king was born. He probably got even more disturbed after he heard from the chief priests and teachers of the law that the birth of this baby was foretold in the Scriptures. All of history had been leading up to this moment, when God’s chosen Saviour would enter the world. Can you imagine how Herod would have felt? What a time to be alive!
As people, we can act like either the Magi or King Herod. We can choose to seek Jesus and worship him or pursue selfish gains. Let’s continue to follow the story of Jesus’ life and investigate his Hero’s journey.
Head: Many of us have heard this story a lot before. What is one thing from the story that stands out to you that reminds you of God’s glory?
Heart: Take some time to ponder the most significant birth in history – the birth of Jesus. How do you feel, knowing that God kept his promises of sending a forever king to rescue his people?
Hands: Our habits can help us to seek Jesus, or encourage us to live selfishly. What is one change that you could make today to help seek Jesus?
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, it is such a joy to know you, and to be able to seek Jesus through your Word. Thank you so much for sending Jesus to be born, to grow into a man, and save us from our dark and selfish hearts. We see your glory in the way that you fulfil your promises. You set stars in the sky and fires in hearts. Thank you for the example of the Magi…the wisest men who sought and worshipped Jesus. Please help me to seek Jesus in all that I do. I pray this in Jesus’ name, by the power of your Spirit, amen.
A song to listen to: Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
This Grow Daily was originally posted as part of a previous series in Matthew in 2017. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the best of Grow Dailys over the years.