The faith of wise men


Advent Reflection 12/18/14

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”

When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.’ “

Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.

Matthew 2:1-12

I’m so impressed by the faith of the magi. Prompted by a star in the sky, they¬†travelled far from¬†their homes to seek out the new king of the Jews. They weren’t even Jewish, yet they felt compelled to honor and reverence this newborn baby. They didn’t know exactly where they were going–they even had to stop in Jerusalem to ask for directions. But they trusted that they would find what they were looking for. On the way home, they modified their itinerary, following the instructions they were given in a dream.

The magi couldn’t possibly have understood the significance of Jesus’ birth in the story of humanity. I’m sure they didn’t know why they weren’t supposed to go through Jerusalem on their way home. But they had faith. They followed where God was leading them, trusting that God knows best, even when they couldn’t see the big picture.

Check out Paul Overstreet’s “Wise Men Still Seek Him.”

How are you seeking Jesus this Advent season? Is God calling you to take a bold step? Will you trust him and take that step, even if you can’t quite see the road ahead?


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