Merry Christmas Summit Faith Family!
As Christians, we have an opportunity to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ every day. Still, it is important that we have a specific time when we draw the attention of the world to the fact that we serve a living Lord. The birth of Christ was the first event in an amazing journey that culminated in the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, ultimately resulting in our redemption! It should be a great time of praise and celebration.
Over the past few weeks, we have taken a look at some of the primary supporting characters in the birth of Christ. Naturally, God is the central character. However, Mary, a humble and meek young lady, was chosen by God to become the mother of incarnate Christ because of her faithfulness. Joseph was chosen to serve as the earthly father of Jesus because of his righteousness and the shepherds were chosen, probably because of their availability. In each of these cases, those chosen were of humble origin. They would not have been highly educated. They would not have been at the top of the social registry and yet, God chose them to play a role in the greatest event in history. But Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds were not the only supporting characters included in this event.
We remember another group of characters included in the Christmas story, the wisemen/magi. Scripture records that: …after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying: Where is he who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him. When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him: In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what has been written by the prophet: And you Bethlehem, land of Judea are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for out of your shall come forth a ruler who will shepherd My people Israel. (Matthew 2:1-6)
This group, the magi, could not have provided a greater contrast to the other characters in the Christmas story. Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds were humble people. Who were the magi? Some conclude they were high-level Parthian priests, very influential members of one of the Parthian assemblies which elected the monarchs of the empire and helped rule the empire. Others conclude they were kings from the east and were obviously astronomers. In ancient cultures, astronomers were the scientists of the day. In other words, they would have been found at the top of the social registry. The gifts they brought to Christ are a clear indication they were individuals of influence, wealth, and power. So, why are they included in the Christmas story?
Unlike the other characters, whose interaction with God was initiated by God, the encounter the wisemen had with God was initiated by THEM! They had studied the prophecies, they were reading the stars, and they embarked on a journey to find God. The prophet Jeremiah recorded these words in verse thirteen of chapter twenty-nine: You will seek Me and find me when you search for Me with all your heart.
I have been challenged to reflect on this thought: a truly wise person is the person who searches for Christ, who seeks to find Him. The wisemen in scripture took the initiative to find Christ and they were not disappointed. I believe the same truth exists today: those people who search for Christ will find Him and those who embark on that search are the people who will be recorded throughout history as being WISE MEN! Who will you be searching for as we prepare to start a new year?