Summary: Worship is about who, not what. It is about giving, not getting. It is about encounter, not ritual.
Listen to what the Scriptures say. Wise men from the East came seeking for Jesus.
• Through the study of the stars and the revelation of the Holy Spirit, they were enlightened to know that the Messiah, King of the Jews was born, in Israel.
• They came seeking and inquiring, and was told to go to Bethlehem. God showed them the way to Jesus, through a moving star.
The Wise Men asked, “Where is the ONE who has been born king of the Jews?” – that’s the REASON for their visit.
• They said they “have come to worship him” (2:2) – that’s the PURPOSE of their visit.
• The reason for their visit is JESUS. The purpose of their visit is to WORSHIP Him.
No wonder the Scriptures called them Magi, or Wise Men. They were wise not just for the knowledge they have.
• They were wise because they sought Jesus, and for the RIGHT reason – worship Him.
• They worship Him because He is worthy, He is the Messiah, the Son of God. He is no ordinary child.
WORSHIP IS ABOUT WHO, NOT WHAT
Worship is all about WHO and not WHAT. They came to see and worship Jesus.
• It is not about WHAT Jesus has done or can do for them, not at this point of time.
• We know that Jesus would eventually, as His name indicates, “save His people from their sins”. (Mt 1:21) And for that, we worship Him. No question about that.
• But at this point of time, the wise men came only for WHO He is. They worship Jesus because He is God. Period.
Herod too, claimed that he wanted to worship Jesus. He said, “As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship Him.” (2:8)
• But we know from passage he has no intention to worship Jesus. He wants to KILL Jesus. His worship was just a talk, a disguise. His “worship” is fake.
The wise men came to WORSHIP Jesus for WHO He is. Not for what Jesus can OFFER them or the BENEFITS they can get.
• When they arrived at the house, Jesus was probably a young boy, maybe two years old or younger.
• He couldn’t even hold a conversation with them. He was incapable of giving them anything, not counsel or help of any kind.
• It would look more like the other way around, Jesus needing help from the adults.
The traditional picture of the wise men coming into a stable to see the infant Jesus in a manger is not accurate. 2:11 “On coming to the house…” not a stable.
2:7 “Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.”
2:16 “When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.”
To make sure that he got it covered, Herod killed all boys 2 years and younger.
Jesus was likely 2 years old or younger, not a baby lying in a manger. And the wise men came to worship JESUS.
WORSHIP IS ABOUT GIVING, NOT GETTING
The wise men did not come to GET something but GIVE. They were prepared to GIVE.
• The moment they decided to make this long and arduous journey, they had already started giving – their time, their efforts, their comfort, their treasures.
• They did not come to seek blessings but to GIVE homage to the Messiah King.
• The Bible says they brought “their treasures” – the gifts of gold, incense and myrrh – considered the gifts fit for a royalty in those days. They were HEAVY gifts!
To worship God is to GIVE to Him what is due Him – praise, honour, glory, and even our material offerings.
• WHO He is – that alone is reason enough to travel the long distance, carry the treasures and take the risks.
• To worship is to proclaim the WORTH of God. Psalm 96:7-9 “7Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. 8Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. 9Worship the LORD in the splendour of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.”
We praise and worship Him, of course, for WHAT He has done or given us, surely.
• But this is shallow worship; entry-level worship. It is the acknowledgement of the good we received, which is good, but not enough.
• We have to move beyond that. We worship Him for WHO He is – He is our God, He is good, kind, faithful, righteous and just.