What’s your Response?
By: Ysrael De la Cruz
I hope and pray you had a great Christmas celebration. Just like people respond differently to Christmas, they also respond different to the good news of Jesus.
When the angel announced to Mary that she would have a baby, she was, she responded with trust and obedience despite not knowing how things would unfold. The shepherds were mobilized by the news and went to inquire the truth of it. Then they spread it to those around. The news of the arrival of the Messiah did not make everyone happy. There is a Grinch in the Christmas story; We can read about this in the gospel of Matthew.
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem seeking for a king.
“Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
Who were these magi? (Astrologers, magicians, wizards, wise men) Their research had brought them to Jerusalem. They studied the stars and concluded that a king had been born. These magi were not Jews as far as we know; however, they came looking for a Jewish king. The prophet Daniel was considered a wise man in the Babylonian empire. (Dan.4:7-9). Daniel lived through the Persian Empire also. These magi were familiar with Jewish prophecies and Jewish customs. The Jews during their exile influenced those they served as slaves. Daniel is the prophet who spoke about when the Messiah would appear and when he would die. (Dan.9:25-27) These astrologers did their research; they were the scientists of the day; they studied the stars and concluded a king had been born. Their research led them to Jerusalem.
The Magi came to worship the king that has been born. This was the purpose of their journey. “We have come to worship him”
(v.3) When Herod heard this, he was troubled (disturbed). Then he moved into action.
–He investigated the matter (v.4)
-He called together the experts (wisemen) of his kingdom: chief priests and teachers of the law. Where was this king supposed to be born? In Bethlehem in Judea since that is what the prophecy states. Micah 5:2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
–Herod sent the magi on a secret mission: (v.7-8) Go find the child and when you find him report to me, so I can also go worship him.
Herod is threatened by the news of a king; he is the Grinch in the story. There is no room in his heart for another king. His desire was not to worship but to eliminate Jesus once and for all. Herod is operating on behalf of Satan; whose job was to keep Jesus from accomplishing his mission. Rev.12:1-6
The end of the journey (v.9-12)
The magi finally found the child and his mother. They found the house Mary and Joseph were staying. (v.11)
How did the Magi respond? (v.11)
They worshiped Jesus and presented him gifts: Gold, incense and myrrh. They bowed down to the newborn king and offered gifts to him in worship.
When their mission was accomplished, they went back home. (v.12)
The news of the Messiah King being born led these magi to Jerusalem. They embarked on a journey because they wanted to worship Jesus. The magi made up their minds to worship the Savior.
We can learn a lot about worship by looking at the example of the magi.
–Do you have worship in your mind even before you come to church?
–Do you get distracted by the circumstances? Or do the circumstances dictate your worship? I am not worshiping today because I have a lot on my mind; because the sound system is not good today, because we messed up on a song; because someone did not say hello to me today or someone looked at me funny.
We must learn to worship regardless of the circumstances. This is the kind of worship that flows from the heart. The magi did not let anything distracted from their adoration to the Savior. They came to adore the messiah king and they would not go home until they got to worship Jesus.
–In their adoration, the magi bowed down and gave Jesus gifts. What are you giving to the Savior? Your time, talents, your money, respect, your heart? Worship is expressed in giving that comes from the heart. Mary of Bethany gave an expensive perfume to Jesus. These magi made up their minds to offer gold, incense, and myrrh. They traveled with these things, and part of their worship was giving these gifts to Jesus. What are you giving Jesus in worship today?
Two different responses:
-Herod’s response: believed the message
-Anger and anxiety
-No room for him in his heart for Jesus.
-The magi’s response: they believed their calculations and embarked on a journey -worshiped the messiah king.
-Did not let anything distract them from their mission.
-They came to adore the king of kings; they did not go back home until they found the one worthy of worship; they bowed down and presented gifts to Jesus in their adoration.
How you choose to celebrate Christmas is up to you; but for me, I do not want to get so caught up in the celebrations that we miss the Savior who came to save us.
Have you come to adore the Savior? This should always be the reason we gather as a church; to bring honor and glory to him, to worship him in spirit and truth.
Is your worship of God circumstantial? or have you learned to worship Jesus even when the Grinch tries to distract you?