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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Searching for Jesus

Matthew 2: 1-2, 9-12 "After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, 'Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.'... After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star that they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house the saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned ina deram not ot go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route."

I know, I know. It isn't Christmas. But I started reading through the gospel of Matthew yesterday and here I am at Christmas in July. The lessons we can learn from the Magi, though, are timeless.
  • They were actively searching for Jesus. They didn't sit at home and wait on some divine revelation, they didn't do an online search, they didn't wait for someone else to find him and bring them to him. They got up, got on their camels, and headed out. They made the effort to go and find him. What would happen if we really searched for him? He promises us in Jeremiah that if we search for him we will find him. Later in Matthew, Jesus himself says we should seek FIRST the kingdom of God and we will receive what we need. And what we really need is him - if we search for him, we will find him.
  • When they found him, they were overjoyed. Do we really get excited when Jesus reveals himself to us or do we completely miss him like the Jews of the day did? Are your eyes open to see what he is showing you everyday about himself - through his word, the world around you, other people? And when you see it are you excited and overjoyed to know a little more of him or just a little "bah humbug"? (sticking with the Christmas theme) Paul says in Philipians that he wants to "know Christ" - that was the passion of his life. It should be ours.
  • They bowed down and worshiped him. This should always be our response to the presence of Christ. There are so many places in scripture where God revealed himself to man in such a real way that their response was to fall on their faces. Most notable to me is the revelation of Christ to John in Revelation. John knew Jesus on earth intimately, but confronted with the resurrected Christ he fell down as though dead. How often do we get on our faces before him and worship him just for who he is?
  • They brought him worthy gifts. These were not gifts on would give to a commoner, but to a king, someone of importance. What are we bringing to him? Only what's left over or are we bringing him our best? Are we serving him sacrificially or just doing what we can? Are we giving him all of us? That is the only worthy gift we have.
  • They were responsive to God's instruction. When he told them not to return to Herod, they didn't go. He didn't have to tell them twice. God wants and honors our obedience to him.
Often we think of the Magi as the guys that wear the really cool costumes in the Christmas play, but they were so much more. They were probably among the very first true seekers of Christ - and they found him and responded to him in the only way they could...joy,worship, offerings, obedience. What lessons we can learn from the Magi today!

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