"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him. ..." Matthew 2:1-2 (read verses 1-23)
Once again, through the recounting of the Scriptures, we have heard of the birth of the Christ Child in Bethlehem of Judea. God the Son was made true man, born of a virgin, and laid in a manger. An angel told the shepherds in the field nearby that this Child was none other than the Savior of the world, the Messiah, and Jehovah God Himself!
Wise men (the Bible doesn't tell us their names or how many) from a land or lands east of Judea learned of the Messiah's birth through the appearance of a star (cf. Num. 24:17; Isa. 60:1ff.) and traveled a great distance to come and worship this newborn King and bring Him costly gifts.
When they arrived in Jerusalem, King Herod was troubled by their quest and inquired of the chief priests and scribes where the Messiah was to be born. They rightly understood the Scriptures and quoted from Micah 5:2, pointing out that Bethlehem was to be the place of Messiah's birth.
But what happened after this? The wise men continued their journey and were led by the star to Bethlehem and to the very house where Jesus was. There, they worshiped Jesus and offered Him gifts.
Herod, the king, felt threatened by the birth of the Messiah and sought to kill Him and prevent Him from reigning on the throne of David.
The chief priests and scribes knew the Scriptures and could tell Herod where the Messiah was to be born, but nowhere do we hear of their traveling the short distance to Bethlehem to worship their newborn Savior and King. About 30 years later, they conspired to kill their Messiah because He was a threat to their religious system and their positions of honor and authority.
The question today is: "What about you?"
As we celebrated Christmas, you heard again of Christ's birth, and you know of His sufferings and death for your sins -- and the sins of the world -- and of His glorious resurrection. You have heard God's offer of mercy and forgiveness to all who repent and look to Jesus in faith for pardon and life eternal. How do you respond?
Do you, like King Herod, reject Jesus and try to silence those who would speak to you of Him because Jesus is a threat to you and to your way of life?
Do you, like the chief priests and scribes, know all the facts about Jesus and His redemptive work but still fail to come and bow before Him and give Him your praise and worship or trust in Him as Your Savior because of your own traditions and religious observances?
Or do you, like the wise men of old, follow the star (hearing and believing what the Holy Scriptures say of the Christ Child) to find Messiah Jesus and worship your God and Savior, presenting Him with the costliest gifts -- your very selves?
O dearest Jesus, You are the Almighty God and our Maker. We thank You for taking on flesh and blood and coming into this world to redeem us from sin and death. We place our hope in You, praise You, and give to You our treasures and our lives. Amen.
[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible. Devotion is by Randy Moll. He may be contacted by email at [email protected]. More of Moll's devotional writings are freely available at https://mercifulsaviorlutheran.net. Opinions expressed are those of the author.]