Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men[a] from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1-2 NLT
Back in my home city, many of us call January 6th, “Russian Christmas” because our precious Orthodox friends celebrate that as the day when the wise men arrived in Bethlehem. A closer reading of the Bible; however, leads us to believe, that it took close to two years for them to make their journey. Though it all began with a star which everyone could see, only a few followed it to come and worship Jesus. Are you looking for Jesus this Christmas? Then let’s check out three things that the wise men did.
“The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask!!” my science teacher often said. Too often we try to appear smarter than everyone else by pretending that we know the answers. Maybe the one thing that made the men in today’s verse wise, is their sense of wonder and willingness to ask. Our search for Jesus, only begins, when we are willing to ask where to find Him and there is no better place to look for directions than the Bible. While at Christmas time it is customary to go looking among manger scenes and shepherds, the Bible says that the best place to find Jesus is at the cross. The wonder of Christmas is not about a sweet cuddly baby, but that God would send His only Son to die for people like you and me. In fact, the angel told Joseph that He was to be named Jesus, because He came to “Save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)
But the wise men needed to do more than ask questions. There were many people who saw the star and asked about it, but only the wise men, packed their bags and began the long hard journey. They left behind their familiar, comfortable and safe homes, to search for a king. Faith means coming to Jesus, no matter the cost. Worshipping the baby born in the manger at Bethlehem was not a popular thing to do, in fact the wise men were warned by an angel that they needed to hurry home before King Herod had them arrested. But wise men are willing to keep going no matter the difficulty, because finding Jesus is more than worth anything we suffer along the way.
Last of all the wise men had to knock. When they finally came to Bethlehem, they wouldn’t have just burst into Joseph and Mary’s house. They had to stand outside knocking and waiting for someone to open the door. Can you picture the scene? There is Joseph meeting them outside on the porch, leaning on the doorpost and wondering at the caravan parked outside on the street. There are the wise men, dismounting from their camels, dressed in flowing ornate robes, begging to come in a see their son. Inside, Mary picks up Jesus in her arms as any proud mother would do and she turns with a smile to show them Jesus. One by one the wise men remove their sandals, wash their feet and then bow to the ground and worship. Will we be ready to do the same? Are we prepared to take off our shoes, kneel in His presence and offer our very best in worship? Of course, we cannot pay admission into God’s presence, but no one who truly finds Jesus comes empty handed. We eagerly offer all we have, knowing that He is worthy of so much more than everything we have to give Him. Come with the wise men this Christmas. The door is still standing open today!