Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

29. Christmas Courage – Part 2

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Matthew 2:1-12

Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”  “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote: ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’ ” Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!” After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11 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. 12 When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod. 

Not only did the journey to Jesus involved a call and a cause but it also required:

  • Courage vs 1 “About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem”

They were willing to risk their reputations for a moment with the Master. Can you imagine their neighbor’s reaction? “Are you going on a journey?” “Yes.” “Where are you going?” “We don’t know.” “How far is it?” “Well we don’t know that either.” How long are you going to be gone?” Well were not quite sure on that either.” “Boy for wise men you sure don’t know much, do you?” I’m sure they said the same things to Abraham when he left his home for the Promised Land, or to Noah when he started to build the ark. They must have said the same kind of things to Peter, Andrew, James and John when they left their fishing nets to become fishers of men. Are you insane? Are you out of your minds? No not insane, not out of their minds, but men of faith. These were not crazy men but courageous men. So, let me ask you what are you willing to risk for the Redeemer? It takes courage to stand up for the cause of Christ, and these men were up to the challenge, the question is are we? It’s time to stop being afraid and start being affective, to stop running from worry and start being the warriors God created and called us to be. Not only was this a journey of courage but also one of:

  • Commitment vs 1 “About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem”

While we don’t know the distance of the journey we do know the dedication. It took a tremendous amount of time and energy. In Matthew 2:16 we are told that Herod decided to kill all the boys 2 years old and younger based on the wise men’s report of when the star first appeared. So apparently from the time the star first appeared it took them almost two years to locate where Christ was. Their search was difficulty and it required diligence and determination. This wasn’t some passing fancy or religious fad, it was a commitment to carry on no matter how great the challenges.  How determined are you in your spiritual search? The Wise men kept searching even when their reference point was gone. You can still seek the Savior when your star is gone because God can use anything to show you the way. When the star stopped shining God revealed the way through His Word. He used an ungodly King and uncaring religious priests to point the way. Sometimes we get so comfortable following our star that we get in a rut and forget that others need to know about Jesus. When the star disappeared, it allowed for others to hear about Jesus and decide if they would go to worship. Your commitment to journey to Jesus will be noticed by others, some like Herod will hate and become irate, while others will be indifferent, like the religious leaders. Don’t let your commitment be based of the choices of others, keep living for the Lord. Did they ever grow tired? Were there times of sickness? Did they ever get discouraged? Did they ever feel like quitting? I suspect the answer to all these questions is “yes” but they persevered. They found their way by consulting Scripture. When they got sidetracked in Jerusalem, it was the Word of God that showed the way. Do you feel like you have lost your way, like you’re just going around in circles, then turn to the truth and allow God’s Word to show you the way.  Being a committed Christian in this culture is a tremendous challenge and without Christ and His light you will never navigate through the difficult and dark days. Not only was this a journey of courage and commitment but it also involved:

  • Change Vs 12 “When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them”

Isn’t it interesting that after the wise men worshiped Jesus that they could not go back the same way that they had come? They needed God to guide them to Jesus but now they know the way, so they can rely on their own route, right? No, the truth is that once you have met God you will never be the same, because an authentic encounter with the Almighty changes things, it changes you. You see its more than just looking to God as a guide its walking according to His Will. God warned them about the way they wanted to go. It would have been easy for them to have trusted in their own understanding and relied of their prior experience. After all, now they knew where the best watering holes were if they took the same route home that they had taken to Jesus. But they trusted God’s Will over their way. So often we want to rely on our understanding instead of trusting God’s will. We love the path of least resistance, we crave the comfortable and familiar and we falsely believe that we can have an encounter with God and then go our own way. But having come to know Jesus we are forbidden to return by the way we came. A journey with the Almighty will always be an adventure, not just at the start when we say yes to God’s revelation, but through every step we take. God has created us with a sense of adventure but we have allowed ourselves to get caught up in the ruts and routines instead of running this race of grace. You see following the Father always involves Faith. By obeying God and going home a different way it meant more unknowns more difficulty but it also meant more dependence on God. You see when they left the house their journey of worship was not over. So often we make worship about the experience instead of the journey, the experience changes us but it’s the journey that moves us. So, what about you is your Journey with Jesus one of courage, commitment, and change?

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