Summary: The Magi are brief on the Christmas scene, but they give us some essential take-aways. They inspire 4 questions within every seeker of Christ.
Introduction to Series
A father was sitting in his office on a Saturday morning reading through the newspaper and becoming agitated by the advertisements jumping off the page at him reminding him Christmas was just four days away. All the ads were prompting the same questions. Do you have the perfect gift yet? You’re running out of time, have you finished your shopping? Have you bought your wife that jewelry she’s been hinting at all year?
The gentleman began to ask himself, “When did Christmas become all about the gifts? When was the main point of Christmas lost?” As he was wrestling with his thoughts, a knock at the door interrupted him. It was one of his daughters asking him to come into the family room for a moment. As he entered, he discovered his kids were going to put on a play. There was a flashlight wrapped in a blanket, lying in a shoe box, at the end of the couch. His oldest daughter stood beside the shoe box and she had herself wrapped in a blanket pretending it was a robe. His oldest son entered the room with a mop on his head, pretending he was not dragging the handle behind him. They announced, “We are Mary and Joseph.”
Then the neighbor boy came through carrying a stuffed sheep and stating he was a shepherd. The final act of the play involved his youngest daughter walking through the room with a pillow between her knees. She was wearing a lot of costume jewelry and she made a lap around the family room stopping at the shoe box. She bowed down and said, “I am all three wise men. I bring you gifts of gold, circumstance, and dirt.”
The wise men, or Magi, were from the East, and they held prominent positions in their country. They were the religious leaders of their society, responsible for deciding who was king, and they were highly educated. Their studies included the Jewish scriptures, so they were familiar with the prophecies concerning the Messiah. These men play an important role in the life of Christ yet reading through Matthew’s Gospel they are only on the scene for a short time. In their briefness though, the Magi do provide us with some essential take-aways. They demonstrate how to share with the Lord and how to be sensitive to his leading. They also prompt some questions in their search each of us should ask ourselves.
Part 1: Search with Questions
Matthew 2:1-12 concentrating on 2:1-10
The Gospels tell us after Jesus’ birth, he received a visit from shepherds, and on the eighth day, Simeon and Anna were able to see him. They both rejoiced in the moment. Matthew then tells us the wise men came to visit Jesus. The Magi’s journey took them to Jerusalem, then to Bethlehem. They truly went on a journey – a search for the newborn king.
The first take-away is the Magi seek the newborn king. They seek him; they search for him; they look for him. Matthew 2:2 says, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him” (NLT). As we look at this point, we must acknowledge the timeline of Christ’s life. The wise men would have visited him as he was a toddler.
They say they saw his star as it rose. The Magi’s journey took some time. They had to seek. It was not an instant find. Scripture tells us, as Christians, we too are to seek the Lord.
We’re all familiar with Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:33. “Seek first the kingdom, and all these other things will be given to you.”
The writer of Hebrews says, “God rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6)
David says in Psalm 63, “You, God, are my God. Earnestly I seek you. I thirst for you; my whole being longs for you in a dry a parched land where there is no water.”
Seek the Lord, Scripture says. As we seek, there are some questions we need to ask ourselves.
QUESTION 1: ARE YOU SEEKING HIM?
First, are we seeking him? The Magi put much effort into their search. We know the Magi traveled from the East. That is, modern-day Iraq to Bethlehem. Approximately 900 miles. These wise men traveled a great distance to find the Christ-child. They knew there was something special about Jesus and it was worth the travel. This is quite a contrast from the religious leaders of Israel who wouldn’t even travel 6 miles down the road to see Jesus. The religious leaders were not seeking Christ, so they did not find him, unlike the Magi, who sought Jesus, found Jesus, and were able to worship Jesus.
Are we truly seeking him? Admittedly, this is an obvious question, but we must start looking before we can start finding.