Summary: What an absurd scene it would have been to see this band of foreign royalty showing up on the doorstep of Joseph and Mary. There are some important lessons to learn from these men who came in faith to see the King...
How many of you know who was born January 8th, 1935? It was someone who influenced much change, but his coming was not met with applause and acclaim. He was born to a poor family in Tupelo, Mississippi and was unnoticed for his childhood years. It wasn’t until after he was 18 that he gained any recognition and soon became who we now know as the “king” of Rock and Roll; Elvis Presley. Now I know there are some fans out here in the audience today, whether they want to admit it or not. Thousands of loyal fans visit Graceland every year to visit the home of this late singer/song writer and some of them weep as they pass by his grave.
Now I am not here this morning to talk about Elvis fans, what I do want to speak to you about is the birth of the King. It took place in a stable over 2000 years ago in a small town called Bethlehem. I want to speak to you about the nature of the second visitation from very unlikely guests; the Magi. Now not much is known of these men, but many historians agree that they were from Persia and that they were from a priestly class. They believed in astrology and magic, but they would have shared some of the Jewish teachings because they had been dispersed throughout the known world. For some reason, regardless of their wrong beliefs, through whatever they were practicing, God revealed Himself to them in the form of a star. They followed that star because it was to them the means by which they would find the King that would rise out of Israel. I want to talk about how they came to the King and what they did once they found him.
1. By faith they came
As I said before, it is likely that these men came from Persia, not from the orient. From the time that they saw the star and when they actually arrived in Bethlehem almost 2 years had gone by. They would have covered a distance of about 1600-1900 km. That is quite a trip. It would be like going from Melbourne to Brisbane by camel. All of this was inspired by the sighting of a star that they believed would lead them to the King. What an undertaking that would have required of them great faith. No where in the histories of Jesus do we see anything like this happening.
What I want to draw your attention to is that this display of faith is what it takes to come before the King. Imagine how absurd it must have been for people watching this group of people travelling such a great distance through the desert to pay homage to the King following a star. How much more strange is it for us to be here this morning singing songs of adoration and preaching about this same King thousands of years later? Without faith, like the faith that it took for them to follow the star, you cannot come before the King or even find Him. God reveals Himself to us in so many ways, drawing us unto Himself, but without faith you cannot come. These Magi came in faith and because of their faith they found Him.
2. In reverence they bowed
There are things about the culture this took place in that better illustrate what it meant to come before a king. First of all not many people even got an audience with the king, but when you did you would revere him. You would bow down before him acknowledging his position and reminding you of yours. He was the ruler and it was expected that you show your respect by humbly presenting yourself to him. Now imagine the scene; this large group of wealthy, well dressed men show up at the door. Mary would have been shocked and Jesus would have been almost 2 years of age, probably looking over his “baby’s first Torah”. These men ask to come into the house and when they find Jesus they fall to the ground and worship Him. They recognized Him as the King did the only thing proper to do in the presence of the King, humbly fall down before Him in reverence for who He was. This group of men at the feet of an infant, what an odd picture, but they understood His position.