Advent 2017: Joy to the World

Day 24: The Wise Men Visit the Christ Child

Matthew 2:1-23, Jeremiah 31:15-20

 

Has anything in life ever brought you to your knees in awe? I must answer no to this question, though two events have come close. The first was when I finally asked my wife to date me when we were in college—after I had chased her since the eighth grade. The second was when the Chicago Cubs won the World Series in 2016, for the first time since 1908.

Few feelings can be compared to the emotional release we feel when we achieve or witness something we thought we would never see in our lifetimes. A couple millenia ago, a number of wise men from the East had a moment like this, albeit a far greater encounter than any romantic relationship or sports championship.

After hundreds of years, the silence of God was broken with the cries of a baby in a small Judean town. News was spreading quickly of the newborn’s arrival, despite His humble beginnings. Wise men arrived in Jerusalem inquiring about the location of the Jewish king who had just been born. Despite their wisdom, they did not know they were in the presence of a man who intended to kill the hope of the world because the coming kingdom threatened his own earthly rule. Herod, a descendant of Esau, could not bear the birth of the true King of the Jews, a descendant of Jacob.

One king cowered in the fear of the wise men’s message while a baby brought the wise men to their knees in worship.

Matthew 2:11 says, “Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped him.” How fitting: the first visitors to worship the King of the Jews were Gentiles from faraway lands, led to the King by Jewish leaders unwilling to investigate His birth themselves. Those whose lives were defined by knowing God were not eager to be the first to worship the Messiah.

O, may the Lord protect us from being so consumed with deepening our knowledge of God that we are unwilling to experience Him. It can be tempting to study God like He’s a scientific specimen or a subject in school without any real desire to worship Him as Lord of all. As we exit the Christmas season, we must pray that our cold, hardened hearts may continue to be warmed by the gospel in such a way that we are willing to worship a God whose eternal kingdom may be threatening to our own.

Written by Chris Martin