In the lead up to Christmas we look at Matthew 2:1-23 and the journey of the three kings who visited Jesus… but the bible doesn’t say there were three of them, just three gifts and it also doesn’t say kings, but Magi, they were more like our modern day academics or philosophers. It’s also unlikely that they were there at Jesus’ birth, but instead came months later. So is this story just a hoax or is there some historic reliability to it? Well there is a lot of supporting evidence outside the Bible that collaborates with the wise men’s journey. 2020 years ago in educated circles of the region of the Middle East, there was a growing belief and prophesy that a great king would come out of the region of Judea. There was also a strong interest in astrology, because when Julius Caesar died, a comet, perhaps the largest ever to pass by the earth, passed in the night sky, so many then believed that when an astrological event happened, a king either died or was born. Couple that with the fact that in the year Jesus was born, there were three astrologically significant events when Jupiter and Saturn lined up on May 29th, the 3rd of October and the 4th of December. So these wise men put two and two together, saw the star and jumped on their camels and headed west!
They could have stayed where they were and missed Jesus, and when significant things happen in people’s lives today that might direct them on a journey to the King, many don’t go. Most people have heard about Jesus and have a hope that there is a heaven and they want to go there… but when challenged, when that star shines, they stay put, happy with how their lives are going. They don’t want to change, they choose to keep Jesus as information and don’t journey to meet the King. Imagine this Christmas if we could create star moments for other people by asking them what they think about Jesus? Would some change?
Back to the story… the Magi, make it to Jerusalem, they were looking for a king, so they went to the king’s palace to see this prince… but there wasn’t a baby there… and king Herod didn’t like the idea of anyone but him on the throne! That’s why we later hear that he sends troops down to Bethlehem to kill all the children under 2 to ensure Jesus was killed! This interaction mirrors the many distractions and speed bumps that come on our journey to the King. Whenever a bad or a good event blocks us from our journey then we’ve got our priorities out of place, we’re off track and we’re away from the journey we need to have towards Jesus. It’s so easy to get off track, to change a habit, to make choices that divert our attention from the King. I’ve had 3 conversations this last week from people who have become inconsistent in their attendance at church, mainly because they’ve chosen to put their priorities in different places. Distractions like this take us away from the line we should be living that directs us straight to the king, but they’re so common!
When the wise men arrived and they worshipped Jesus… they didn’t just bow and give gifts, but also worshipped Him. Why is this, why would they worship? And why are these wise men even in the story to herald the birth of Jesus Christ? 1 Corinthians 1:20-24 says that the wisdom of this world is fleeting, but the truth of God remains. This is true if you look at all the predictions from our past and all the things people thought were true… so many of them fall over, but for the last 2000 years, the wisdom of God through Jesus hasn’t changed. He is still the only way to get to God and even though people come to Jesus thinking they can just bring gifts (like doing good things), bow down and be done with it… our true response must be that if we want a relationship with God… we need to match the actions of the wise men, that even though it didn’t make sense that Jesus, who wasn’t born in a palace, whose parents weren’t rich or influential, who for the wisdom of this world didn’t look like much, but who worshipped all the same. In the same way, we must realise His perfection, His goodness, His love, then we can’t just meet the King, we fall down and we worship Him with all our hearts! We can look at all of the problems in the world and they all come back to the same thing… whoever bows down and allows Jesus to be the King in their life will see God put their broken lives back together and in that journey He will bring them to a place where they’re not only made better in this world but they’re given entry into the world to come.
Find the full sermon here: Journey to the King