New Year’s Resolutions…Again? A new year often equals a new list of what we will accomplish in it. Most often that list is never realized. Why is this the case year after year? Let’s face it, we just aren’t that serious about doing what’s on the list. The inconvenience, effort, self-sacrifice and time just aren’t worth it to us. If it was, the list would be accomplished. This year may i suggest throwing all of your lists away and focusing on one solitary thing? I suggest that we all learn from some very wise men that did this very thing over 2000 years ago.
Epiphany Matthew 2:1-18, Philippians 3:7-14 Epiphany is the celebrated manifestation of Christ to the Magi. (Celebrated traditionally on January 6) Defined, this word means the moment of striking personal relation or insight. The personal realization or insight that the wise men received from God was to go and search for the greatest treasure on earth—the Christ. We can spend our time and effort on many things in this world but the greatest treasure forever remains our personal relationship with that same Christ. In fact, we may have everything that the world has to offer and still be spiritually “poor, blind, and naked”—dammed forever. (Revelation 3:17) So…unless this quest is at the top of your list this year, then the rest of it is vain, and simply a diversion from the most important journey of your life; which is to know Christ. Where does getting to know Christ more deeply fit into your New Year’s resolution?
Who were these Wise Men? These were heathen, affluent men of royalty, most likely from Persia. They were Magi (priest). Likely, those who studies Astrology. (This is why they were so attuned to the Eastern star that they followed.) The word magic is derived from the old and occult practices of the magi. These practices are forbidden in God’s law. (Leviticus 19:31, 20:6) Once again we can see how God extend His grace and direction to those who are lost. These wise men were not wise at all. They were priests of other gods, practitioners of the occult. God led them to His truth with a sign that they would take heed to. They had evidently read the biblical prophecies and longed for a savior. When the star appeared they left everything to follow it. They were actually following their God-given longing to meet the Christ. Note: No matter how lost in sin or religious practice (or lack of it) you are, God will honor your desire to follow His guidance to the truth if you will only seek it. (Matthew 7;7-11)
“They came to the house where the child was” Matthew 2:11 The Magi came to the house sometime after Jesus’ birth. We must note that “they came to Him”. God will put the desire in our hearts to search Him out, and He will even guide us in our search, but He insists that we come to Him. We must put aside our self-centeredness to seek Him on His terms. (Matthew 6:19-21, 33) Are you ready to seek Christ on His terms or are you waiting for Him to come to you?
Four Gifts: They also brought their gifts to Him. Only three are mentioned but God was only impressed with the fourth one, That is themselves—their worship. This is truly the only gift that we can offer God. Our freewill makes our worship unique. The other gifts that God inspired the Magi to bring were reminders of the prophecies regarding Christ’s titles: Gold=King of kings, Frankincense=Prophet of God’s word who would lead the people to God. (Frankincense was used by priests in worship to God. Its aroma drifted upwards to heaven as do the prayers of God’s children. Myrrh= ( a burial perfume) Symbolic of Christ’s priesthood, the sacrifice for man’ sin. All of these items were most likely sold by Mary and Joseph to pay for their flight to Egypt and Jesus’ earthly needs, but the worship of the Magi was priceless! What gift will you offer to Christ this new year?
Another Route 1 John 1:9, 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 It is noteworthy to read that the Magi had been changed by their encounter with Christ. They were no longer influenced by royal protocol, (ie: Herod’s order), but by the Lord’s direction. “They went back to their country” another way (Matt. 2:12). One could assume that after this experience the magi became Wise Men. Likewise, repentance is a change of direction. We who meet Christ through our own journey will also be changed.
God’s guiding light today Matthew 5:14-16 Many would say, “Hey, I would go to Christ too if I had a giant star miraculously lighting my way.” But there is a grater light that God has provided for man to follow today. That light is in God’s children. If you are a child of God (born-again Christian) then you are the Eastern Stars of today! You are God’s light to the world, guiding unbelievers to the Christ so that they can be reconciled to their heavenly Father.
“Out of one hundred men, one will read the Bible, the other ninety-nine will read the Christian.” D.L. Moody
Lead the Way Daniel 12:3 It is appropriate to end our study with a quote from Daniel because it was likely his legendary life hundreds of years earlier in Babylonian captivity that inspired the magi to know his God and ultimately to travel to meet his Messiah. Wise men still seek Him…truly wise men will change their route and lead others to the Way.