After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
The question has been posed: “What would have happened if there had been Three Wise Women instead of Three Wise Men?” The answer: They would have asked for directions immediately commencing their trip, which would have allowed them to arrive on time; they would have helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole and brought cute little outfits that baby Jesus could have worn on his trip home. But as it happened, they were wise men (not wise women) – and while we think of these men as part of the Christmas story, they were not present at the birth of Christ. Yet even though the story of the wise men is shrouded in mystery leaving us with a lot of unanswered questions I want us to focus on what we do know. These were men who recognized God at work in the world surrounding them.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
3 There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.[a]
4 Their voice[b] goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
This was the perfect sign that the light of the world had been born, a light in the darkness.
The wise men, these men of science and the stars came to a decision to seek out and find “the King of the Jews”. They didn’t have all the facts when they started, but they had enough to know they needed to search. God gives men enough light that they might search for more. Sometimes we get the idea that the only place God can speak to us is in church. That is not true. God works through the many circumstances of our life to direct our attention to him; and quite often those circumstances involve our place of employment.
• Moses – was tending sheep.
• Gideon – was harvesting wheat
• Peter – was cleaning nets after a night of fishing
• Matthew – was at his table collecting taxes
• Wise Men – were in their study of the stars
The first thing that we see in the Wise Men’s journey of worship a:
1. Journey of worship always involves FAITH.
“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East.”
What would prompt someone to leave the comfort of their homes to go on a dangerous journey? Romance? Yes. Wealth? Most definitely. But faith? Yes – faith. “Where is He who has been born the King of the Jews?” What a probing question – there is no doubt in their language that He had been born – the question is “Where is He?” They had seen the star – the evidence was real – now where is He? They had faith that He was alive – that He existed – now all they needed to do was to find Him. Their purpose was established – find Him. And so, they were willing to risk everything to find Him. They were willing to leave the safety of their homes – to risk a pearliest journey to seek a King. Can you imagine their neighbor’s reaction? “Are you going on a journey?” “Yes.” “Where are you going?” “We don’t know for sure.” “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 much do you?” But I’m sure they said the same things to Abraham when he left his home for the Promised Land. They must have said the same things to Noah who was building an ark. They must have said the same kind of things to Peter, Andrew, John and James when they left the fishing nets to become fishers of men. What are you crazy? Are you insane? Are you out of your minds? No not crazy – not insane – not out of their minds – men of faith. Today are we shying away from faith because we are afraid of what others will think and say? Are we more motivated by faith or by our fear of appearing foolish? Faith is not motivated because it know all the answers instead it’s because it knows the Author. Scripture reminds us that God’s journeys always involve FAITH. For it is impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him Hebrews 11:6. People of faith have been willing to respond to the challenges of the unknown over and over again down through history. William Cary was a shoemaker when one day he heard of the millions of people in India who had not heard the Good News of Jesus Christ. He believed the great commission to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.” He believed that that verse was speaking directly to him. So he volunteered to go to India but was told “Young man, sit down. When God wants to convert the heathen, He will do it without your help.” Cary went anyway – supporting himself. For seven years he worked without seeing a single convert – but by the end of his life he saw hundreds of churches and thousands of converts. Today he is known as the “Father of Modern Missions.” Why because he stepped out in faith. Where in your Journey of worship do you need to step out in Faith?