DECEMBER 23

Wise Worshippers

Bible Reading: Matthew 2

Matthew 2:1-2, “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, 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.”

We were created to worship our creator.  It is in worship of Him we fulfill the purpose for our existence and find true meaning in life.  The obstacle to worship is sin and the rebellious estate we have inherited as a result of the fall of man.  But God has been working ever since to transform rebels into worshippers and we find a great example of this in Matthew chapter 2.

The chapter focuses on the account of the “magi from the east” (Matthew 2:1) who came from afar to worship the newborn King of the Jews.  Who were these men?  The NASB provides this note regarding them: “Pronounced may-ji, a caste of wise men specializing in astrology, medicine, and natural science.”  In this respect, their role was akin to that to which Daniel was appointed centuries beforehand.  It is possible and likely that their predecessors first learned of a coming King of the Jews through him.

They were not kings, but Babylonian “king-makers.”  It is amazing that God would call these Gentiles from that faraway place to acknowledge the birth of the newborn King!  There were undoubtedly more than three, since when the king heard of their presence in Jerusalem, “he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him” (Matthew 2:3).  The thought of three is but a tradition likely rooted in the three-fold gifts.

They came to worship the King of the Jews, but how were they to find Him?  Their journey transversed hundreds of miles—through “field and fountain, moor and mountain.”  They had no knowledge of His exact whereabouts and no GPS to direct them.  But God provided for them a star.  It was no ordinary star.  They saw it “in the east” (Matthew 2:2).  As they sought out the baby Jesus in Jerusalem, the star “went on before them, until it came stood over where the Child was” (Matthew 2:9).  That star led them to Jesus.

Any would be worshiper in this age is likewise dependent on God’s help in the matter of worship.  No one ventures on that journey apart from God’s intervention.  True worship demands a change of heart and an unveiling of the truth.  The Holy Spirit is the worship leader—He is the “star” that leads us to the Savior.  His ministry is to open the eyes of lost sinners to the glory of the Savior and His gospel (John 16:8-11, 14; 2 Corinthians 4:4-6).  He changes hearts and then fills and overflows them with praise and thanksgiving (Ephesians 5:18-21).

The worship of the magi involved extraordinary sacrifice.  They left their comfortable homes.  They endured a dangerous and arduous journey.  They were alone in what they were doing.  The apathetic religious leaders knew of the birthplace of Jesus but shared no desire to worship (Matthew 2:4-6).  They faced the threat of a wicked king.  King Herod feigned worship but plotted the Newborn’s death (Matthew 2:8, 16-18).  They sacrificed by imparting splendid gifts to Jesus.  “They fell down and worshiped Him; and opened their treasures they presented to Him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11).  Their gifts acknowledged His identity as God (frankincense; Matthew 1:23), King (gold; Matthew 2:2), and Savior (myrrh; Matthew 1:21).

True worship involves sacrifice.  God calls upon the recipients of His mercies to “present (their) bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God” (Romans 12:1; 2 Corinthians 4:14-15; 8:5).  We can learn a lot from these wise men.  They “rejoiced exceedingly with great joy” when they saw the star and were led to the Savior (Matthew 2:10).  True, Spirit-led, worship leads us to do the same (1 Peter 1:8b).

WE THREE KINGS

We three kings of Orient are;
bearing gifts we traverse afar,
field and fountain, moor and mountain,
following yonder star.

Refrain:
O star of wonder, star of light,
star with royal beauty bright,
westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain,
gold I bring to crown him again,
King forever, ceasing never,
Over us all to reign. [Refrain]

Frankincense to offer have I;
incense owns a Deity nigh;
prayer and praising, voices raising,
Worshiping God on high. [Refrain]

Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume
breathes a life of gathering gloom;
sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb. [Refrain]

Glorious now behold him arise;
King and God and sacrifice:
Alleluia, Alleluia,
Sounds through the earth and skies. [Refrain]

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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