Summary: Like the Magi, we are all on a star trek. Some are searching for something; some may be the star God uses to guide others to Jesus. The magi weren’t wise because they sought Jesus; we call them wise because they found Jesus.
The First Star Trek
by David O. Dykes
For all of you who are looking for Santa this week, I need to read a memo to you.
To: All Southern USA Residents
RE: Replacement Santa
“I regret to inform you that effective immediately, due the growing population, I will no longer be able to serve the Southern United States on Christmas Eve. However, I have provided a replacement for you, my third cousin, Bubba Claus. His side of the family is from the South pole. There are a few differences between us that you need to know:
1. Instead of milk and cookies, Bubba Claus prefers that you leave a RC Cola and pork rinds.
2. Bubba Claus’ sleigh is pulled by flying coon dogs instead of reindeer. (Santa made the mistake of loaning him a reindeer once, and his head now overlooks Bubba ‘s fireplace.)
3. Instead of hearing “On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen...” you’ll hear, “On Earnhardt, on Wallace, on Gordon and Jarrett.”
4. The classic Christmas movies such as “Miracle on 34th Street” and “It’s a
Wonderful Life” will be replaced with “Boss Hogg Saves Christmas” and “Smokey and the Bandit IV.”
5. Bubba Claus doesn’t wear a belt. So make sure that the wife and the kids turn the other way when he bends over to put presents under the tree.
Today as we think about Christmas I want us to revisit Bethlehem to experience the wonder and joy of the birth of Jesus through the eyes of the wise men. Let’s read about it beginning in Matthew 2:
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and 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.”
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.”
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east 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. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
Because the magi were following a star, I call this message “The First Star Trek:”
Jesus–the holy child. This is the journey of the ancient Magi, their continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life, and new civilizations–to boldly go where no man has gone before.”
In Nativity scenes we arrange the wise men around the baby Jesus along with the shepherds and the angels. But we know from our text the Wise Men didn’t arrive on the night of Jesus’ birth–it was later. Matthew used a word that specifically means “house” instead of stable. He also used the word “child” instead of newborn. Based upon the 16th verse in Matthew 2, we can infer Jesus was probably anywhere from 12 to 24 months old when the wise men visited Him.
We call them wise men but some women would insist that term is an oxymoron. They would rank “wise men” right up there with other pairs of contradictory words like “jumbo shrimp” or “rap music” or “civil war.” In fact, when my wife tells this story, she suggests it would have been much better if God had sent wise women instead of men. The women would have asked for directions sooner, arrived on time, helped Mary deliver the baby, and cleaned up the stable. They would have brought practical gifts like Pampers, baby-wipes, and formula.
So these moderately intelligent men were on the first Star Trek. Let’s jump on the camels with them and see if we can extract three personal lessons from their experience.