Posts tagged ‘Wise Men’

How Far Will You Go?

When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.   Matthew 2:10-11

I was obsessed with the Indianapolis 500 race as a kid growing up in Indiana. I wanted to go to the race in the worst way, but my family did not have the means to purchase tickets. So you can imagine how thrilled I was when a friend gave me a ticket to the race when I was in high school. The race had been stopped due to rain after a few laps and postponed to the next day. So I was able to see my first Indy 500, though it wasn’t with the excitement that comes with the initial start of the race.

It wasn’t until I was at Bethesda Naval Hospital as an OBGYN resident that I finally was able to purchase my own tickets. I had been on a waiting list for more than 10 years when I received a letter from the Indy 500 ticket office giving me the option to purchase two tickets. Without a second thought I bought the tickets and made the trip from Bethesda, Maryland to Indianapolis. To my great disappointment, the race was rained out for two days and then rescheduled to the next weekend. And so I drove home to Maryland only to rearrange my schedule so I would be able to go back to Indianapolis. And so I drove back to Indianapolis for the second consecutive weekend and witnessed my first race in person from beginning to end. 

You might say I worshipped the Indy 500. But my travels to Indianapolis over the years are nothing compared to the obsession the wise men in the Christmas story had to see and worship Jesus. They had studied the signs of His coming for years. They knew the approximate time Jesus would arrive based on Daniel’s prophecy in chapter 9. But just like I had to wait for a letter from the Indy 500 ticket office to know when to go to Indianapolis, the wise men relied on a personal message from God to make the trip to Bethlehem. Their message was in the form of a star that they diligently followed. And just like I wanted to see the beginning of the race, the wise men wanted to see the beginning of the story of salvation. I can only imagine their excitement and anticipation as they made that road trip. It was perhaps the most exciting road trip filled with promise in the history of road trips.

The picture of three wise men who had traveled for miles enduring poor weather, unknown trials, and the enormous personal expense just to see the baby Jesus is one that models what worship is all about. Matthew tells us that they immediately bowed down to Jesus when they came into His presence giving Him gifts arising from love and adoration.

When I think about this picture of worship, I am called into account about how I worship Jesus today. They went to see Jesus when He was a baby. He could not do anything for them. They were not asking anything of Him. They were not seeking blessing or personal gain. In fact, they had already given Him years of their life in study and anticipation of giving Him the gifts of their toil. They had worshipped Him for years before He was even born because they had faith in His love and power to save this planet from self-destruction. Their worship was grounded in love and total submission to Him, not in expectation of receiving anything more than they had already received. They were not concerned about the time it took to travel, or the perils they faced along the way. Everything paled in comparison to being in the presence of Jesus. They simply wanted to witness the power of heaven embodied in human form as a baby. And on their return home, they would avoid King Herod who would have given them gifts and temporal honor in order to protect the One they loved above all else. 

Jesus came from the splendor of heaven to lay in a dirty, smelly manger so that we could have life, and have it abundantly. How far will you go to worship Jesus today? Will you rearrange your schedule to make time for Him? Will you give Him your best gifts?  Do you love Him unconditionally as He loves you? 

 

By a Different Road

In the little city of Frostproof, Florida they noticed a plastic baby Jesus, accompanied by a plywood donkey, hadPOSTER3 vanished from the manger sometime after the annual Christmas parade on December 1 of this year. But they’re not alone. In fact, did you realize we have a crime epidemic every year during the Christmas season in America? It’s true. The Los Angeles Times reported that the baby Jesus is being stolen from nativity scenes across America. And it’s been going on for years now. In fact, the Times article reported that a New York City company, BrickHouse Security, developed a GPS tracking system to be able to find the baby Jesus. BrickHouse Security Chief Executive Todd Morris heard about figurines being stolen from mangers across the country and decided to offer GPS trackers free as a holiday goodwill gesture, mostly to churches and other nonprofits. With the GPS tracker, it’s easy to find the baby Jesus. When baby Jesus was kidnapped in one community in 2008, he was found in someone’s living room within hours. In 2009 the baby Jesus was followed on the GPS map strolling around the community center, pool, and tennis courts. With the GPS in place, the baby Jesus can easily be found.

Consider the original Christmas story. The “Wise Men” had a GPS tracking system. They were probably from Persia, present day Iran. As they studied the prophecies of Daniel 9:20-27, they were able to know the approximate time the Messiah would appear. However, they didn’t know the exact time and location. But God made it easy for them when he sent them a band of angels shining as a star in the sky to lead them right to Jesus. Of course, the most amazing part of their story is that they were wise enough to follow that star! This first GPS system took the Wise Men on a different road than they would have taken on their own. It was a road worth taking. It was the road to Jesus.

Where is the baby Jesus in your Christmas holiday this year? For many of us, including Christians, we lose the baby Jesus at the very time of year we celebrate His birth. We don’t need BrickHouse Security to find the real Jesus. That’s because Jesus promises us our own personalized GPS tracker system that is as good or even better than the one given to the Wise Men. We read in John 16:7… “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” In other words, I’m giving you a GPS tracker system so you can ALWAYS find Me! This “Helper” is the Holy Spirit. And we can have Him in our lives if we will only accept Him.

The Holy Spirit is our GPS tracker system that will lead us to Jesus as certainly as the angels led the Wise Men to Jesus over 2000 years ago. Wise men and women still find Jesus today. The promise of Christmas is that we can find the baby Jesus. He can be your baby Jesus and He can be mine. But you have to use His personalized GPS tracker system. Are you ready to use the most sophisticated and technical, and yet the most user friendly and personal GPS tracker system in the universe? Jesus has told us the truth. He can be found. He wants to be found. He desires to have a home in you heart and mine. May you find Jesus on Christmas day and throughout the coming year!

 

 

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