Seeking Jesus like the Magi
For Christians, the wise men or magi are a familiar part of the Christmas story. They are often represented in our nativity scenes as three men from the Far East, dressed in ornate clothing and presenting their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to baby Jesus on the night of His birth. While culture and tradition have significantly added to what the Bible says about these noble men, the truth is that we’re told very little about who they are, making them some of the most mysterious and intriguing figures in the Bible. Perhaps the reason why we are spared so many details about the magi is because the emphasis of their role in the Christmas story is not about who they are but rather what they did. While most of the world would remain completely unaware of Christ’s birth for many years to come, these special men recognized the arrival of Christ and set out to worship the promised Child and King.
“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
The Gospel of Matthew is the only gospel to mention the Magi. It tells us that after seeing a magnificent star appear in the sky, the wise men followed the star to Bethlehem, that marked the birthplace of Jesus. Bible scholars believe that the group of men travelled nearly 900 miles with a caravan of camels and donkeys carrying their supplies and gifts for Jesus. It’s estimated that it took them nearly two years to reach Bethlehem and that they found Jesus not as a baby in a manger, but as a young child probably in a very humble home. For many of us, we become inpatient and frustrated on a two-hour car ride, much less a two-year journey on a camel. Yet, these men were so enthralled to meet Jesus that they traded the comfort of their homes and being with their families to be pilgrims in a foreign land, enduring a hard and dangerous journey as they sought after Him. Then, when they finally met Jesus, they bowed down and worshiped Him, presenting their gifts as a token of their praise and gratitude.
The humble and sacrificial actions of the magi reveal a lot about their character and the posture of their heart. For the wise men, it wasn’t enough just to know about Jesus, but they desperately longed to be in His presence and to personally know Him. They wholeheartedly believed in the prophecy of the promised King of Kings and recognized that His was worthy of all they could give.
How fervently do you seek Jesus? Is He someone who commands your attention only during Christmastime or do you seek Him each and every day? Unlike the wise men who had to travel many miles to be in God’s presence, we have direct access to Jesus anywhere and anytime through prayer. He wants nothing more than to be in relationship with us and as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, we are to make Him the Lord over our life, making Him our first priority and giving Him all due worship and praise. For Jesus, the greatest gift that we can give Him is our heart. As we reflect on the example the wise men have given us on how to seek and honour the Lord, may we be encouraged to passionately pursue Jesus every day with a humble heart of worship.
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