Updated: Mar 23, 2020
In the Gospel of Matthew, there is the story of the Magi who had traveled a great distance in search of the one who had been born King of the Jews. We call these men the wise men because a person is truly wise who seeks the Lord Jesus Christ. We are also truly wise when we bring sacrifices and gifts to the Lord Jesus Christ. But the 2nd chapter of Matthew’s Gospel also reveals another group of individuals who weren’t so wise. This was the group of religious leaders who when they were called into the presence of Herod, had the information from Scripture as to where the Messiah was to be born. But they had neither the interest nor the inclination of the heart to join the wise men in their search for the Christ child. We read in Matthew 2, “When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he called together all the people’s 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 Judea, 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,” (v.3-6 NIV). We read that the wise men followed the star to the house where the Lord Jesus Christ was. Scripture tells us, “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”, (Matt. 2:10-11 NIV). These wise men had the incredible privilege of being the first Gentiles to worship the Lord Jesus Christ. But what we don’t see is the priests and teachers of the law worshiping the Christ child. They could tell Herod where the Messiah would be born, but they apparently had no interest in meeting the Messiah themselves. They had the right answer from Micah 5:2 as to the birthplace of their Messiah, but they were too busy with their religious duties to consider going with the wise men.
Now maybe it was out of fear of Herod that they didn’t join the wise men in their search for the Christ child, but certainly, God would’ve made a way to bless them if they had. They were playing a kind of religious jeopardy, they knew the answer, but didn’t care about the questions. The Magi had traveled a great distance, at great cost and personal inconvenience and yet the religious leaders and priest couldn’t even be bothered to go 6 miles down the road to the little town of Bethlehem. These religious leaders held not only religious influence but also political influence in the first century. They had religious answers but no real heartfelt desire to know the living God of the universe. Their lives were filled up with religious inquiry and duty and yet they did not have time to worship Christ. These scribes and priests represent those who know religious facts about Jesus Christ but have neither the time nor the interest to develop a personal relationship with Him. Jesus will not force any of us into a relationship with Himself. But if we truly seek Him, He will reveal Himself to us, just as He found a way to reveal Himself to the Magi. Think of the gifts and treasures these Magi brought to the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s amazing to me that they came all that distance from hundreds of miles away, sacrificing their conveniences and comforts to seek someone they knew nothing about. They brought him their treasures and gave Jesus the very best that they had to give. I wonder if this Christmas we are offering God our treasures or our trash. Are we giving to God what’s right or what’s left? These men thought so highly of Jesus, even though they hadn’t met him personally, that they gave Him their precious treasures. This Christmas we’ll be traveling to Michigan to be with our children and grandsons there. It is not a convenient or comfortable trip, but we make this trip because of our deep love for our family members. These men made this long journey with expensive gifts for someone they had never met, and yet they shared the very best they had to give with Him and his family. What an amazing example and illustration for us to follow.
By contrast the religious leader’s picture for us the possibility of being so busy at Christmas time that we don’t take the time to worship the Christ of Christmas. My first Christmas as a Christian was also my first Christmas working in the post office. In those days (1978) we worked overtime every day starting on December 1 right through Christmas Eve. I was working the midnight shift and working 10 to 12 hours a day every day till Christmas Eve. Even though I had just become a Christian I was bitterly resentful of having to work all those hours. I hardly had time for any other part of my life. Yet even in this God was providing many blessings. I was feeling rather a humbug until I took the time to contemplate the true significance and meaning of the fact that Jesus Christ had come into the world and came into my life to change my life forever. Each of the sacrifices that were brought by the wise men pointed to the future service and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. They weren’t too busy to meet Jesus. Don’t fill up your Christmas holiday with so many activities and meals that you don’t have time to worship the true Christ of Christmas. Make sure you are more like Mary, sitting at Jesus’s feet and worshiping Him then like Martha, so busy serving with an extravagance that she missed out on the greater blessing (Luke 10: 38 – 42). Take time to worship Jesus this Christmas season and make sure that you are giving Him your very best, for He alone is truly worthy!
All for Christ,
Pastor Rich Sivo