Day 13: The Faith of the Wise Men
Scripture to meditate on: Matthew 2:1-12 The Visit of the Magi
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.”
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 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. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
“‘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.’”
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 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.”
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. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 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. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
Reading about the Faith of the wise men reveals to me the fact that against the backdrop of any season of darkness in our lives, God still shines His light to lead and guide us to a place of reassurance, comfort, hope, salvation and victory. Regarding His promises to us, He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5).
Herod was a despot, a ruthless, brutal and cruel king. I believe these were dark times in the history of the nation of Israel under Roman siege. This didn’t deter the wise men from eastern lands though.
The leading priests and teachers of religious law had and knew the scriptures but neither had an understanding of God’s timing nor the faith to search out the scriptures. Strange, I wonder why they did not even follow the wise men to see for themselves the fulfillment of the words of the prophets yet they were longing for the messiah. What blinded them?
The psalmist writes in Psalm 23, ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.’
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
My first learning from the scriptural text on the “Faith of the Wise Men” is that once we accept Him to be our shepherd in life’s journey, God will always lead, guide and be close by despite the ugliness of our current situation or circumstances. Isaiah 41:10
Secondly, those who seek will find (Matt. 7:7), because the wise men kept seeking God’s salvation, they found it. They persisted, were patient and enduring and believed that the sign would lead them to the King of Kings.
So as we go into the season of the celebration of Jesus’ birth, we need to be encouraged not to grow weary. Israel and wise men were all waiting for the birth of Christ, but only the latter found because they continued believing, seeking, hoping, believing and trusting that what God promises, he fulfills.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:9-10
Questions to ponder:
- What does this passage say about God?
- What does this passage say about me or my relationships?
- What should I do in light of this passage?