We meet three characters in this chapter with three different responses to Jesus.
The wise men, or magi, travel from afar, following a star in search of a king. They enter Jerusalem, the natural place to get more intel on where to find this king of the Jews. Surely the current king of Jerusalem, Herod, or the Jewish religious rulers would know where to look.
The religious leaders, who studied, memorized and taught the Scriptures constantly; who knew all the prophecies by heart, instantly respond Bethlehem when asked about the birthplace of their Messiah.
And while they pass this information on to Herod and the magi, they stay put. The journey from Jerusalem to Bethlehem is approximate six miles on relative flat terrain, walkable in a couple of hours. Six short miles for what they have been anticipating for hundreds of long years. Yet, they don’t go. They are content in the lives they have built in the waiting. They miss Jesus.
Meanwhile, King Herod is filled with anger. He is not going to stand for any other king threatening his societal and political power and position. His plan is to destroy this child, even if means killing every male child two years old and younger in the land he is in charge of leading.
The magi go. They were paying attention. They saw the star. They sought out its significance. They searched for the king. They traveled a great distance. They worshiped and brought gifts. They weren’t about to miss Jesus, even though they didn’t fully understand what His birth meant
Three characters. Three responses. Herod tries to kill Him. The Jewish leaders stay home, too busy with their religious activities and rituals. The wise men go and worship.
Three responses representative of the general reactions to Jesus today…
Like Herod, many today harbor much anger toward Christianity and those who follow Jesus. They seek to destroy, belittle, and diminish its impact and influence.
Like the Jewish people and religious leaders, many have plenty of knowledge about Jesus and even say they are fans, but satisfied with the status quo, they do nothing to follow Him.
And like the magi, there are those who are seekers, willing to go the distance to meet Him; to get to know Him; to worship Him.
God, may this be a year where we see You, search for You, go to You, worship You, and surrender our gifts to You.
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