After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
(Matthew 2:9-12 ESV)
We are currently reading Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth which was precisely foretold by God to the prophet Micah 750 years earlier [Micah 5:2]. Interestingly, we see three different responses to this prophecy and Jesus’ fulfillment of it; responses that are still in practice today.
Yesterday we saw that the chief priests and experts in the law knew Micah’s prophecy but they weren’t interested in the fact that it had been fulfilled. The scriptures were simply head-knowledge to them – something to be known and memorized but which had no effect on their lives. There are many people like this today. They know a thing or two about Jesus, including possibly His claim to be God and to be the only way to heaven, but they don’t care. They are more concerned with earthly pleasures than eternal realities.
We also saw King Herod’s reaction. Jesus’ posed a threat to Herod (or so he thought) so he plotted to eliminate Him. We’ll read more about this in a couple of days.
Today we see a third reaction. When the magi come upon Jesus they fell down and worshiped Him. The magi humbled themselves. They were aware of their need for the Savior who was Jesus.
When we recognize Jesus for who He is – God in the flesh (Emmanuel) [Isaiah 7:14] – we worship Him. Worship has many forms including praise, humility, and, as we see here, giving. The magi gave gold (a gift for a king), frankincense (a gift for a priest), and myrrh (used to embalm the dead). Jesus is a king. He is a priest – interceding for us with God [Romans 8:34]. And He is human – suffering death as we all do.
The magi’s reaction is the right reaction. The previous two categories of people were proud. They didn’t want to admit they were sinners. That attitude caused indifference in one group and active belligerence in the other.
This is the crux of the matter facing every human being alive today. Will we admit what God tells us – that none of us are good and none of us deserve to be in heaven [Psalm 14:3; Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:10 et. al]? Or will we reject that truth and believe lies perhaps to the point of obstructing others from learning about Jesus too?
All of life comes down to one question: “Who do you think Jesus is?”. The only correct answer is that He is God’s Son who came to earth from heaven to become a sacrifice on our behalf [Mark 8:27-28; Philippians 2:5-8] because we needed Him to.
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