I love quirky humor like this! Much has been said on the Wise Men over the years. The Bible however only records 12 verses about these significant pieces of the Christmas Story. We covered 10 verses yesterday, and today we will read the last 2. Our story picks up after the events of yesterday ★ Day 21 – Reason for the Season – Neighborly Competition ★ post, where we were first introduced to the Wise Men who followed the star from the East, and their interaction with Herod about where the baby that was born King of the Jews was. As a refresher from yesterday, Matthew 2:7-8 (NASB) says,
“Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.”
In Charles Stanley’s “Life Principles Bible,” he had this commentary on Luke 2:8 on the cunning nature of Herod…
“Anyone can pretend to love God – but the proof is in a person’s character, and Herod’s was sinfully flawed. Thankfully, the men were not deceived. The Lord warned them about Herod, and they returned to their own country without telling him that they had seen Christ.”
That is so true. Character is everything. I am reminded of the quote from Abraham Lincoln,
“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
A person’s true self will come out in the light eventually which was the case for Herod and for the Wise Men. Today’s “Reason for the Season” will focus on the latter. I love this play on words…“Are you part of the inn crowd or the stable few?” Obviously this is muse for today’s title, but it opens the discussion, which are you? Are you on the periphery of the Christmas story, in a comfortable “Inn,” keeping Jesus at a distance and not allowing the truth of this season to penetrate your heart? Or are you part of the “Stable Few” that your you are “all in,” that regardless of the adversity, Jesus is the center of your life; and that Christmas is the fulfillment of God’s plan for salvation?
Our passage is from Matthew 2:9-11 (NASB) which says,
“After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Emphasis added.)
Charles Stanley’s had this insightful commentary on Luke 2:11 about the truth of when the Wise Men came to see Jesus contrary what many depictions show…
“The Wise Men probably visited Jesus when he was about two years old. They came to a house instead of a stable and saw the Child rather than an infant. Regardless of His age, however, they worshipped Him and acknowledged Him as the Messiah.”
The Wise Men “fell to the ground and worshiped Him,” and then “presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Incredible!
If it is okay, I have one more comic to share…What a great modern adaptation!! But it raises the issue about these three gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. I did a little research on what they were and the representation of each of the gifts. The gold is obvious, it was for its worth but also to acknowledge the divinity of Jesus. Everyone is quite familiar with Gold, but what about Frankincense and Myrrh…not as much I suspect…Did you know that both are dried tree saps, or resins. Frankincense is highly fragrant when burned and often used in worship. When it was burned, it was done so as a pleasant offering to God, (see Exodus 30:34). Frankincense is a symbol of Jesus’ holiness and righteousness. And finally Myrrh has a medicinal, kind of bitter smell and was often used to dress wounds. Today, it’s still used to prevent and treat gum disease and sometimes shows up in toothpastes and mouthwashes.
The Magi as they were also called were a caste of a wise man specializing in astronomy, astrology, and natural science that came from the East to worship Jesus who was prophesied about over 700 years earlier. We can learn a lot from them, a couple of adjectives come to mind…steadfastness, driven and passionate. And at the core the Wise Men were extreme worshipers! Jimmy Evans made this great point,
“The wise men traveled hundreds of miles and spent an enormous amount of time and money seeking Jesus. That is the spirit of Christmas.”
We talked about this on the ★ Day 10 – Reason for the Season – What is the Spirit of Christmas? ★ post, that the Spirit of Christmas is all about giving of yourself in service to God and others, and I can think of no other example in the Christmas narrative than Wise Men whose sole purpose was to worship the Messiah, which gives us a great model for how our faith should be. They were resolute and unwavering in their mission, regardless of whatever stood in their way…whether it was the cost of the trip, the dangers along the way, or an envious King who wanted to stop the fulfillment of the prophecy of the coming Messiah, their belief in the prophecy was so strong that the Wise Men overcame any adversity in order to worship the Savior of the World! Wow! The question I have for us…Do we have that kind of faith? Day 4 of the 121 Advent Bible Reading Plan said,
“Most often our hope wavers because it is rooted in an act of will and therefore lacks a stable foundation…Where is your hope rooted? What characteristics of God can you rest your hope in today?”
Great questions…Today my prayer is that a stable foundation of faith in the Jesus would be built and that if He is not the center of your life that you would make the decision to follow the Magi’s example! Hebrews 10:23 (NLT) says,
“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.”
And it is so true! When I take my focus off the problem, and place it in the capable hands of the problem solver, EVERYTHING CHANGES! I am thankful for the model that these “Stable Few” Wise Men have given us to follow. They journeyed for hundreds of miles through peril and struggle all to worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. May this be the posture of our hearts today!
“The star that led the Wise Men then….Still shines to guide the hearts of men today.”
To assist in that, here is Elevation Church’s beautiful song “Let Us Adore” from their new album called “Wake Up The Wonder.”
As an additional supplement to today’s “Reason for the Season”…I highly recommend you listen to “The Twelve Voices of Christmas” audio dramatization from Back to the Bible of “Wise Men – The Voice of Adoration.” This dramatization is designed to help the listener experience the story of Christ’s coming in a fresh way from the Wise Men’s perspective.
If you would like to see the next installment of our “25 Days of Thankfulness” series go here…★ Day 23 – Reason for the Season – Can Christians Condone Claus? ★
Or you can start from the beginning by ★ Clicking Here ★
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