We 3 Kings of orient are…
can you finish it? (bearing gifts we traverse afar)
But have you ever really read their story in the Bible? (It’s in Matthew 2, which you can read here.) I don’t know about you, but I could stand to learn a few things from these wise men about coming to Jesus. As I reread the familiar story this morning, here’s what I noticed.
They were seeking Jesus.
“Wise men from the east came to Jerusalem saying, ‘Where is he who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’ … Herod sent them to Bethlehem saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me the word that I too may come and worship him.’ After listening to the king [Herod], they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.” (Matthew 2:1-2, 8-9) Interesting that this very infant King grew up and 30 years later proclaimed: seek and you shall find. I love hearing people’s stories of how they came to know Jesus. Often I hear a theme of seeking. Seeking love, acceptance. Seeking to be known for who I truly am. Seeking to know what is True and where I belong. Seeking forgiveness & freedom from the feeling of failure. And all this seeking eventually leads to Jesus, to Grace incarnate.
It did for the magi and it does for us.
They were expectant.
“When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy” (vs. 10) They hadn’t even gotten to Jesus yet, but when they finally were outside the place where they knew he was, their hearts filled with joy. Can you imagine their excitement and the anticipation?
They worshiped him.
“And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him.” (vs 11) I have a feeling they didn’t have too much idle ice-breaker chit chat. I imagine them walking in the door, looking at Jesus, looking at his mother, and then falling on their faces and worshiping the King of Kings, this innocent toddler, the Savior of the world.
They fell down before him.
“And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him.” (vs 11) As I read this, I heard the Lord whisper to me – do you take your access to God’s throne for granted? Because I don’t have to travel hundreds of miles by camel. Yet, sometimes I don’t even make the effort to get up and get to my couch in the morning to get to Jesus. I have unlimited access to the God of the Universe, the Savior of the World. How quickly we forget this. He wants us to come as we are. To come to Him. And worship.
They brought him what they had.
“Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” (vs 11)
They brought Him the best they had. By worldly standards, these men probably had a lot. The fact that they had these precious, expensive gifts and travelled so far indicates a certain level of wealth. But you don’t have to be a ‘somebody’ in the world’s eyes to be a somebody to Jesus. And you don’t have to have a lot to give Him what you have. In fact, I think of the poor woman in the temple…
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:41-44)
What do you have? What can you give? When we were living completely on student loan debt for a year (not something I highly recommend), we decided not to tithe/ give to our church. And we loved our church. The people embraced us. They preached from the Bible and loved Jesus. But we felt like we really had nothing to give. Until we were moving and they needed new gliders for the nursery. We had a glider – I was slightly sentimental about the idea of rocking all our babies in the same chair. We could have taken it with us in the truck. After all, I was 36 weeks pregnant with our second. But we didn’t really need it. And they did. And loving people had rocked our daughter in their worn out rockers week after week after week. And so we gave ours. It wasn’t a lot but it was all we had.
Their spirits were sensitive to God’s leading. “And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.” (vs 12) We don’t get much information from this passage. I wonder if they were hesitant? I mean, it’d be easy to just chalk up the dream to a weird dream. (Although, perhaps if God shows up in your dreams it’s pretty obvious?) It would be easy to second guess themselves though. I’m guessing they took the most direct route on the way to Jesus, so returning to their own country another way could be hundreds of extra miles (by donkey? or camel? or foot?)
But, they obviously took God seriously. And their hearts and minds were open to His Spirit’s leading.
Lord, help us to slow.
To come expectant, seeking.
To worship in spirit & truth.
To give generously.
To step out in faith.
What do you learn from these Wise Men? (or do you now just have the song stuck in your head like I do?) 🙂