“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born the King of the Jews? We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”
Matthew with his characteristic simplicity describes an event which reveals in turns the graciousness of our great God and the necessary response which we must make to such great love. In the account of the Magi we see first of all the graciousness of God. Centuries before God had brought judgement upon His people by sending them off into exile. Some of them, like Daniel had been brought to Babylon where they had been chosen to be among the Magi teaching them about the greatness of the God of Israel and I am sure speaking about the beliefs, customs and practices of the Hebrew people. Centuries later some of that teaching still had a hold on these Magi. There was an expectation of the coming of a Hebrew Messiah. Then God began to speak to these specific Magi showing them through a star that the one that they had been expecting had finally come. God, in His grace, spoke to them in a way that they could understand. So often the beginnings of a work of grace in our lives is bound up in those things which are commonplace in our lives, but through which God begins to reveal His Gospel truth to us.
Now I think that it is important that we note what happens next. They followed the revelation they had been given. I am sure that the truth that God was revealing here was revealed to many others. Matthew tells us that these Magi followed the revelation they were given. Others ignored the revelation they were given. Many today hear the Gospel. Through the circumstances of their lives they are brought to the point where they recognise their need of the grace of God. One day as they are struggling with their need they hear or see something that points them to the truth of the Gospel. It may be that they hear someone preaching, someone gives them a Gospel tract, or a friend tells them about Jesus. They may hear one of the hymns of our faith being sung. However it happens it seems as if God is speaking to them directly. “Today is the day of salvation.” Matthew tells us that the Magi saw the star and they followed it. In obeying the revelation they received they were eventually given more truth. They were told about the word given to Micah regarding the Messiah coming from Bethlehem. They then headed for that town and as they went the star went before them until it led them to the house where Jesus was. They obeyed the revelation and were guided by God’s grace until they arrived at the place where the Messiah was to be found. Matthew tells us that their whole purpose was to go and worship Him. This is the response of faith to God’s gracious revelation. To come to Him in submitting, committed faith, that is what God is calling us to.
Matthew includes this account here in order to bring us to the true response of a disciple of Christ. Those who belong to Christ hear the word of revelation which God gives to them calling them to faith and they respond with committed worship. They come to Jesus in faith, believing that He is in fact the Incarnate Son of God who has come to bear their sin on the cross. They come and submit to Him in reverent worship laying their lives down at the foot of the cross and being committed to following Him wherever He leads them. I would urge each one today to come and adore the Living Christ today. This is the only way in which this will truly be a Merry Christmas for Christmas is all about Christ.