By Brooke Holt
“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.’ When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.”’” – Matthew 2:1-6
People have always been looking for signs—signs of what is to come, signs that they are on the right path, signs that God is real and present and actively working in this world. The wise men were also looking for signs and then beheld one: a glorious star in the sky. It is most likely that these men knew of the Old Testament prophecies of the star that shall come from Jacob (See Numbers 24:15-19). This was no ordinary star; it was the star of the Messiah, the king who would come to deliver the nation of Israel.
Seeing the sign of the star, these wise men began a great journey, the journey to see their long-awaited king. It was thought to be about an 800-mile journey, and an 800-mile journey on foot not in your airplane, car, or train. This was a journey of sacrifice and danger. These men committed to following that star and finding this newborn king. Why? So that they could worship him. To worship—not sign up to be in his courts or to influence or to gain anything from this rising king. No, these men came 800 miles just to worship.
As they followed the star to Bethlehem, they went to the natural place to find a king—the royal palace of King Herod. As King Herod inquired of the religious leaders as to where he might find this baby, they told him of the prophecy from Micah 5:2. Would they, too, long to worship this baby? Would they too rejoice that God had fulfilled his promises to the nation of Israel?
What about you? Are you worshipping this king today? You know the full story. Indeed, Jesus was born the king of Israel. Jesus not only came to build his kingdom but to make the way for your salvation. Does that lead you to worship? Do you seek him and are you willing to make the journey to find him and follow him, even 800 miles on foot? Or have you become a bit complacent due to familiarity or comfort? Are you seeking to control your little kingdom here on earth and not quite sure how the Messiah might want to rattle your ways?
Jesus has come, and as we read throughout Advent, Jesus will come again. Will he find in you a heart of worship, a heart that is willing to do whatever it takes to find him, to follow him, and to offer him your life?
How is your heart stirred by these wise men? Have you grown comfortable in your worship of the King of kings? How is the Lord calling you to come out of that comfort or complacency to enter the true worship of the Messiah? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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