What can we learn from the wise men who followed a star to discover Jesus as a baby? WM author and Taupō Salvationist Tracy Andrews takes us on a journey of our own to find out.
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The wisest moment in my life was the moment I came to Jesus Christ! I am following the light of God’s Word, through understanding brought by the Holy Spirit.
That's what the 'wise men' of Matthew 2:1-12 did too.
These men were mostly likely Persian scholars (now modern-day Iran), in the employ of the King of Persia. They perhaps had access to the 'Book of Daniel', left in the Babylonian library 600 years before, and studied it for themselves.
From when a star first appeared in the sky, the wise men then would have discerned that this was the sign of the Messiah. They asked ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.’
I imagine they were appalled that none of the leaders of Israel knew the Messiah had been born! Today, we recognise that Jesus was and is the promised Saviour of the world. But what can we learn from the wise men's journey in order to be wise ourselves?
'May we, like the wise men go
Into the world, God's love to show
That they in turn, may see and know
God's Word is the star we must follow.’
The wise men studied the scriptures and talked with one another - this helped them to continue on in their holy journey. Listening to God is of utmost importance, and we can learn to listen in a few different ways.
We can hear God by reading Scripture: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
We can hear God by listening to the Holy Spirit: (Hebrews 8:10-11) 'This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.' (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21) 'Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good.'
We can hear God by receiving godly counsel, confirmation and the peace of God: (Proverbs 11:14) 'For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers. (Matthew 18:16) But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.'' (Colossians 3:15) 'Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.'
'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.' - Matthew 2:9-11
The wise men play a big part in the story of Jesus' birth. Their obedience, curiosity, faithfulness and tenacity led them to be the first to give gifts to Jesus. We also should desire those traits and that wisdom, following God and leading others to Jesus. Here are some simple actions that the wise men took as they journey to find Jesus:
'When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.' Matthew 2:10
'Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.' - 1 Thessalonians 5:16
The wise men gave the most costly gifts of their day. Each gift had a purpose and meaning: gold represented kingship, frankincense represented priesthood and myrrh represented death and embalming. Their offerings blessed Jesus and his family.
Today, the most costly thing we can give Jesus is our lives. This means daily obeying God and giving him our full attention and love. These offerings are not to be given lightly, and need to come from the right place if we want them to bless God, others and our Christian whanau - the Church.
From the Gospel of Matthew, we read that once the journey was completed and the costly gift had been given, the wise men rejoiced. Their joy filled them up! We too will grow to express joy in the journey that God has prepared for us, no matter our circumstance! We rejoice again today, remembering God's greatest gift to us - his son Jesus Christ.
Today, the wise still seek Him.
This reflection was adapted from the writing of contributing author Tracy Andrews.