December 10, 2018
In recent years, genetic scientists have concluded, according to “mitochondrial DNA studies,” that all human beings alive today descended from one woman and one man over 100,000 years ago. Although this sounds a lot like the biblical account of Adam and Eve, the conclusion of these researchers was not that this discovery confirmed the biblical account of creation. They believe their discovery only indicates that of the thousands of human beings that were alive at some point in history, the only ones who have survived to present time just happen to be from a common male and female union. Throughout human history, “human wisdom” has sought to discredit the biblical account of a Creator God, and how, through “science” the myth of a Creator God is debunked. But the Bible declares in Psalm 14:2, “The LORD looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God.” Throughout history, human beings have sought to confirm that human wisdom can explain the mystery of life without the existence of God. It is also true that many human beings, in their journey to search for wisdom, have found and accepted the Creator God of the Bible.
The part of the Christmas story concerning the “wise men” who came from the east seeking wisdom is found in Matthew 2:1-2. “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.” These men had the Old Testament scripture, their apparent faith in God, and the placement of a star to guide them to Jesus. Doesn’t it seem odd that if all of the Hebrew scholars of the day knew what the wise men knew, that they would not have come to worship him too? Maybe, even though they knew the same things, they were caught up in the desire to have a political or military Messiah who would lead their nation to greatness in the world, and freedom from their oppressors. But the “ways of the Lord” were always there, they just seemed to miss it. The wise men of the Christmas story, on the other hand, embarked on a journey of faith. They left their homeland in the east when they saw the star. They made the connection between the star and the appearance of the Messiah who deserved their worship and they traveled a long way for a long time. They had to consult with local experts and deal with local politicians, in order to arrive at their final destination. Ultimately they were warned by God in a dream to leave the country without reporting to the authorities. It was quite a journey.
May I suggest that each one of us is on a journey of faith as well. As we come to the conclusion of another year, we should acknowledge that we are on a journey directed by God, much like the wise men. I’m not exactly sure what might have motivated these ancient men who studied the stars, to journey to Jerusalem. Maybe their interest in the Jewish scriptures was passed on to them by previous scholars who had learned under the captured Hebrew son, Daniel, many years before, while he was in Persia. Whatever their motive and from whom they were inspired to study the prophecy regarding the coming of the Messiah, there is no doubt that the journey they embarked on was a journey of faith.
In our journey, we sometimes can feel like God’s guidance fades away before we reach our destination. We can learn from the wise men what it takes to keep pushing on in our spiritual journey as we begin a new year. We can be encouraged that like the wise men, the journey takes time, and we need to be patient. We can also be reminded that the destination is worth the effort and that God gives direction when we need it. Most of all we can learn and be reminded that we must be willing to ask for direction and not just forge ahead blindly in our spiritual journey. We can know that God’s direction is found in His Word. We can also realize that the “scholars” of our day also know the same scripture that we find so familiar, and like their counterparts of old, choose to deny or ignore Jesus. In fact, it seems like the whole world today has chosen to disregard what those wise men knew to be true, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and worthy of our praise and worship.
The Bible tells us that when the wise men found Jesus, they were overjoyed. Matthew 2:9-12, “After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star 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, they 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.” Their response to Jesus is a model for us at Christmas time. Our worship this Christmas should be a joyful expression, not because it is the “season.” The focus of our worship should be on Jesus, not on traditions or expectations. We need to bow down, just like the wise men did, and demonstrate that we are submitted to the Messiah, who is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
If we truly model our worship after the “wise men,” we will prove with our lives in the coming new year, that God deserves, and will receive, our treasures not our leftovers. Our journey will result in leading others, who truly seek Him, to come and kneel before Him as well, acknowledging Him as their Lord. Our journey will result in joy and fulfillment, rather than stumbling and falling. May 2019 be a year in which we all are “wise men.” “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the LORD are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.” Hosea 14:9.