Come Let Us Adore Him

Day 9

Matthew 2:1-12

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

  “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
    for from you shall come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

Matthew 2:1-12
It is most likely the visit of the Magi (Wise Men) occurred a short time after the presentation in the Temple and in the town of Bethlehem where Joseph and Mary chose to remain instead of returning to their original home in Nazareth. It must be noted that these Eastern visitors were from the gentile world, probably Persia, Arabia, or Babylonia, indicating that Jesus came to bring truth to every race of people. God made a promise to patriarch Abraham that he would be a blessing to all peoples of the earth. Throughout the Gospel of Matthew, gentiles keep appearing. The Gospel starts with a genealogy that shows Jesus is descended from King David. Surprisingly, however, Jesus’ ancestry includes gentiles (Rahab and Ruth).

Many legends have grown up around this story of these three kings, one of which is that they were “three.” The gospel account does not say there were three of them…or five or ten. The idea of three kings comes from the three gifts that were given.

As they followed the star seeking this newborn king, naturally the Magi came to Jerusalem, the capital, inquiring where the king had been born, because the prophecy pointed to Judea.

As the Wise Men inquire of the whereabouts of this king we are introduced to the lesser and wicked king Herod. Our text states, “he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” What would cause Herod to be troubled? Shortly before, he had been filled with anger from rivalries and jealousy towards anyone who might supplant him on the throne of Palestine. Because of the ruthlessness of Herod, when he was troubled, everyone in Jerusalem was troubled.

Herod called together the High Priest and Scribes of the people and asked them where the Messiah was to be born. Their reply was, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet.” It is interesting that the High Priests showed no interest in the possibility of their Messiah’s birth, but feared Herod for their own lives rather than protecting the king whom they awaited.

Herod then exploits the Magi to find this newborn threat to his kingship. Under the pretense of desiring to worship to the new king, he sends the Magi to Bethlehem, telling them to return at once and inform him when they find the child, so that he may go and worship.

Upon the arrival the Wise Men entered the house, and when they saw the young child with his mother, they fell and worshipped him. They opened their treasures and offered him their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh: riches for a king and the same spices and perfumes used to prepare a body for burial—from the very beginning the manger was to lead to the cross.

Because our King has come, because we have been given far greater gifts of grace in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, let us fall down alongside the Wise Men before our King in worship. Just as the Magi traveled from distant lands following a star in the night sky let us journey to great lengths seeking after him and following every evidence of his presence in the world. Oh come, let us adore him!
Ben Repass | Senior Adult Pastor

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