The 3rd Day of Advent
November 29, 2022
“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him” (Matthew 2.1-2).
The magi came from somewhere in the world of Persia. (There is even a tradition in far western China that the magi were from that part of the world.) After Herod was deceived by the magi, he had all the young boys, two years old and younger, in Bethlehem killed (more on that horror later). That two-year period was more than enough to guess how long it took for the magi to arrive in Jerusalem. Whether or not it actually took two years for the magi to make the journey, we can say it took them a long time. Perhaps, if they traveled one way approximately 1000 miles, that would mean a two-thousand mile round trip.
The question I have in mind for today’s Advent lesson is this; how much energy would I (do I) invest to come and worship Jesus? Would worshipping Jesus be as important to me as it was to those magi? However long it took for the magi’s round trip, would I invest a similar time period in my life to seek out the Messiah and worship Him?
Is my worship of Christ serious and whole-hearted worship or casual and distracted worship? How much energy do I pour into my worship of Christ? How much energy do you invest in your worship of the Christ Child? Are Sundays important days of worship for us? How much do we invest during the week in anticipation of our worship each Sunday? How much do we invest in worship during the week? Is worshipping Jesus a way of life for me? Do I seek to worship Jesus in everything in my life (1 Corinthians 10.31)?
The magi were serious about worshipping Jesus, face to face. The story of the magi is a serious and vibrant call to worship. Listen to the words of Proverbs 2.1-5;
My son, if you will receive my words
And treasure my commandments within you,
Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
If you seek her as silver
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will discern the fear of the Lord
And discover the knowledge of God.
I submit that our worship of Jesus is so sidetracked in today’s world. Technology of all sorts distracts us. We worship media rather than worship Jesus. We worship our careers and our ambitions. The magi had one ambition for the time it required to plan and take the trip to follow the star to Bethlehem – “We want to worship Jesus.” I suspect that when they finally returned home, their lives really had been changed. Jesus dominated their lives and their worship. Christmas is seeking and worshipping Jesus. Wise men still seek Him – every day of their lives – in every one of their ambitions – in every one of their relationships – in every area of their lives.
I suspect that in our fast-paced culture we do too much on the run. We eat on the run. So many things on our “to do” list, so many things to experience – we’re always on the run. Perhaps this has influenced our spiritual life and worship. We read the Bible on the run – we pray on the run – we worship on the run – we take time with others on the run – we spend time with our families on the run.
And in the in-between-time, we know all the movies, all the music, and we are well connected with all means of social media. And speaking of social media, my iPhone tells me precisely how much time I’ve spent on various ways of communicating with others. But it does not tell me how much I’ve worshipped Jesus today. What would it tell me if it did monitor my time of worship?
The magi didn’t worship on the run. They focused intensely on Jesus, and their worship of Him changed their lives. Like them, let’s plan time for worship. Let’s be like the Magi and worship, encouraging others to worship as well.
“O magnify the LORD with me,
Let us exalt His name together” (Psalm 34.3).