GodReflection: It’s a Boy—We Worship the Gift Baby
“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him” (Matthew 2:2).
I suppose a person can search for special and still not be wise. However, I would think the wise to be more able to identify special when encountered.
Rather than count sheep on a sleepless night I would have the option to count wise people God placed in my path over a lifetime. I’ve never tried but am confident the list would be long enough to cause my eyelids to close and cause me to fall into sleep.
Wise people don’t settle for less than authentic. The wise search for special. The wise are drawn to what is genuine. They seek real.
After the temple trip and the blessings by Simon and Anna, we find Mary, Jesus and Joseph back in Bethlehem where Joseph has secured a house for his wife and baby (Matthew 2:11).
This is another of the events around the birth of Jesus when I find my mental picture influenced by a lifetime of Christmas plays, marketing and our 21st Century obsession with the accuracy of time. The sequence may not be as precise as we are taught to envision.
Matthew’s Gospel tells us when they saw a star Magi from the east came to Jerusalem to ask King Herod about this new King of the Jews. The Magi were the wise ones, the king makers from Persia. In their nation they had absolute power to select kings. The king star got the attention of these wise astrologers.
They had King Herod’s attention. He didn’t need competition. Immediately he inquired with the chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. (What Herod did not know—nor apparently the chief priests and teachers—was the King baby already had visited the Jerusalem Temple and left the city).
Herod was told the Hebrew prophets spoke of a king to be born in Bethlehem. His self-interest continued to grow. It was to his benefit to get a first-hand report from the wise. King Herod shared what he had just learned.
As the Magi set out for Bethlehem, to their delight the star returns. Matthew tells us, the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed (Matthew 2:9-10). God led them to the baby king.
The wise ones knew their visit to the Bethlehem home was directed by a God with power to move a star. Then comes another of the understatements found in the Gospels:
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, frankincense and myrrh.
My guess is their souls were about to explode with emotion in the presence of the King child.
All that had happened to bring them to this particular house in Bethlehem could only come from Almighty God.
After the visit as they drifted off to sleep, Matthew concludes the occasion with a message from God through an angel who appeared in the dreams of the Magi and Joseph. The wise ones were not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. While Joseph was to “Get up, take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
With the gifts of the wise-men Joseph can now pay for the stay in Bethlehem, and for their trip and time in Egypt.
Have you ever made a list of the wise-ones God has sent to see you? Have you grown in wisdom after seeing Jesus? Are you a wise-one who worships the gift baby?
I think I will ask myself those same questions. The special is worth the search.
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: The Wise Searched for Special