“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for me with all your heart.” ~ Jeremiah 29:13
Many of us may recall from an early age having a nativity scene on display somewhere in our house this time of year. Maybe your family used it to retell the story of the birth of Jesus Christ in some reenactment on Christmas Eve. The set typically included a baby Jesus lying in the manger, Mary, Joseph, a shepherd, an angel, three wise men, and an assortment of animals. One year, my cousins and I learned very quickly from our grandmother that G.I. Joe had absolutely no place in the scene, nor should her figurines be treated as enemy combatants. Although completely relevant to the story of Christ, when observing the nativity alone, the three wise men could be considered more like G.I. Joe outliers.
Matthew 2:1-12 tells of the visit of the wise men. Still, over the years, events like Christmas pageants and our traditions have caused confusion and cast unnecessary ambiguity over the historical details. Many people have drawn their conclusion that, in some variation, there were only three. They were all kings coming from Persia, India, or Arabia, rode camels to the manger in Bethlehem, and were physically present on the night of Christ’s birth. However, all the Bible tells us with absolute certainty is that after Jesus was born, wise men came to Jerusalem looking for the king of the Jews after seeing a star. Hearing about what these men were seeking, King Herod assembled his chief priests and scribes and found that Christ was born in Bethlehem according to the prophecy. Herod summoned the wise men, told them to find Christ, and brought him word once found. The wise men set off and saw the star come to rest over the place where they ultimately found Christ and his mother, Mary. Once they saw him in person, they fell and began to worship him, and offered him their gifts, gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and ultimately did not share with Herod that they had found Christ.
One thing for certain is that these wise men were considered magi. The magi were scholars, philosophers, and pagan astrologers of their day. Knowing this, it is always encouraging to recognize that these astrologers, those observing the stars for all the wrong reasons, saw the star for the “king of the Jews” and were convicted to find him and worship Him. They did not see the star and reassigned it for demonic reasons. They did not see the star and ignored it. They saw the star and immediately left for Jerusalem, seeking to find Christ and asking where to find Him. Once in Jerusalem, King Herod sought the magi out and provided them with direction to continue their journey in Bethlehem. Ultimately, these seekers would find and worship Christ. Not because of Herod’s guidance but because they saw the star again and became overjoyed. This should be a clear reminder that God directs those sincere in their search for Him.
The Bible tells us that we will find Him when we seek God wholeheartedly. Too often find ourselves half-heartedly going through the motions, claiming to seek Christ. It’s easy to trick ourselves into believing that we are seeking Him just because we attend church regularly. But are we willing to take the metaphorical or literal journey to find God at all costs? We must seek Him, become overjoyed in His presence, and bring our very best just like the wise men. In the end, it doesn’t matter when the wise men found Christ, whether it was the night of Christ’s birth or two years after. What matters is they found Him after they began to seek Him. Shouldn’t we do the same?
Questions for Thought
- How did God lead you out of spiritual darkness?
- Are you continually seeking to know God?
Write the Christmas story found in Luke from memory and reread the passage. Are there any details you recalled incorrectly?
Minister of Operations
With a background in city management and public administration, Randall brings his expertise to leading the operations of First Baptist Dallas. His wife, Joni, grew up at the church. They have a son and twin daughters.