Saturday 1 January 2022


                              The Visit of the Wise Men. (Matthew 2)

  Today is the first Sunday of 2022, and the Church celebrates it as the feast of the Epiphany. In other words, the sign of Christ being revealed to the Gentiles; a moment of sudden and great revelation.

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men came from the East came to Jerusalem.  The wise men began asking where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? They had observed his star at its rising, and went to pay him homage. These men had studied astrology, and they would have known of the prophecy in Numbers, which told of a star which would point to the place where the Messiah would be born. We do not know exactly who they were, but God knows, just as many now are serving God faithfully and God will reward them.

When Herod heard of a king being born, he became most concerned that his authority would be put in jeopardy, and the political leadership in Jerusalem would be affected. He called the priests who were in charge of spiritual activity, and scribes who interpreted the Old Testament Scriptures, and asked for their knowledge, and they told him that the prophet Micah had foretold the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

            Herod sent for the wise men, and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.”

When they had heard the king, they set out and followed the star which guided the men from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, a short distance of about 6 miles, where it stopped over the place where the child was. The men were told and they were filled with joy, for they knew their mission was successfully fulfilled.

They were able to see the child and present gold, signifying the king of metals was for a king of people, frankincense which was used for the incense in the Temple, where Christ would be a priest and bridgebuilder between God and his people, and myrrh is for one who is going to die, and Jesus came into the world to die          .

The time of this event must have been some time after Christ’s birth, for we know that Herod was furious when he found out the wise men had not told him where Jesus was, and so ordered all the boys born within two years to be killed.

The actions of the wise men reveal a deep commitment, for they travelled many miles in conditions of some discomfort, for they would not have anything like the means of travel we have and would have taken much time to complete. Yet to-day, we have alleged Christians finding it hard to travel even the nearest of distances to attend church and worship the Lord. It would be well for all professing Christians if they were ready to follow thee ample of the wise men, and show some self-denial.

Above all they believed in Jesus without first having seen him, whilst so many people still won’t believe in him, although the evidence for his birth and life is overwhelming. The wise men believed when the religious leaders of the day did not. They did not go to colleges to be convinced, they were not given teaching, yet they saw the baby and believed he was the Saviour of the World

This teaches us, that it is not only those who receive most notice and are considered to be of such importance, are those closest to Christ. A few strangers from a distant land, and some shepherds, were those who rejoiced most the birth of Jesus.

The Bible states he came unto his own, and his own knew him not. The same may be said of the Church today; those who appear to be so religious and devout in their words, betray the Lord in their beliefs and actions. How applicable thus applies to those in high places, who have many degrees and fancy titles, but no true grace in their hearts.

We must not feel holy because of knowledge, which is wonderful if faithfully applied, but a lot can leave a person graceless.

 Jesus came into the world, there was a general expectation that God was going to act in their hearts, for they felt they could not build a golden age without God.  When Jesus was born it wthe first symbol of his coming to make an impact.

      It would be natural for any king to react at the thought of another king coming to take over his throne. In times of difficulty he could act generously by remitting taxes, and even built a Temple.  But he was as many leaders are, he was afraid of losing his authority and could then be viciously cruel. It is evident how such a man would respond when told of Jesus who was destined to be king came along.

   These versed tell us there may be followers of Jesus in places we would never imagine them to be. Jesus has many hidden stones whose  stories may never be known.  The world may be barren in places, but the grace of God is never barren, and will lead us in Christ to find them and lead them to salvation.

The verses also lead us to see it is not always the ones who make much of Church attendance who give the Lord much honour.  It was not the Jewish Church men who hurried to Bethlehem, but strangers from a distant land.  The same kind o thing can happen now just the same. People can have scripture knowledge in their minds, and be capable of debating much, but have little grace in their hearts. Herod sought the Church leaders for knowledge, and they could not tell him anything useful, and made no effort to find out for themselves.

 The wise men showed much diligence, facing such effort to travel all those many miles to the house where Jesus was born, facing all kinds of dangers on the journey. What a difference there would be in our spiritual lives, if all Christians were prepared to take as much effort to attend worship to the Lord, and to display the same eagerness as they do to go shopping, or to entertainment venues.  Such are relevant questions.

  God delights to honour at faith displayed in this passage. Whenever the Bible is read the conduct of the wisemen will be seen.  Let us never be ashamed of seeking to see Jesus. Let us have steps of faith and have the strength to acknowledge him in our lives.

We in our time have an excellent and ready way of seeing and meeting Jesus, for he is always present in the page of our Bibles. Seek and you will find,

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