Step of Faith
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying “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.” Matthew 2:1-2 (ESV)
Consider: The wise men were counselors and advisors to political leaders within the Roman Empire. These men studied astrology, dreams, sacred prophetic scriptures, and the arts of magic. At the time of the writing, Jesus had been born in the town of Bethlehem, during the reign of Herod the King. Herod had been serving as King over Jerusalem for over three decades. His health was waning, and he was fearful of losing his position. He had had nine wives and tumultuous relationships with his children, some of whom he had killed on suspicion of insurrection. Caesar Augustus had even said it would be better to be a pig of Herod’s than part of his family. Everyone knew that Herod was vicious and paranoid.
The Gospel writer Matthew says that these wise men came from the East. It is clear that they are not Jewish pilgrims coming to worship their Lord. They are pagans by practice. In fact much of their work would be forbidden for those in the faith as sorcery. Yet here they are by God’s sovereign grace, being drawn to worship Jesus as their Lord, calling them out of their dark magic into a wonderful light, literally guiding them by starlight. It was common for God to us light to highlight himself throughout human history. He also appeared to the Israelites in the wilderness as a pillar of fire. Jesus would later say, “I am light of the world.”
Here we see God meeting them right where they are and using their own dark profession as means to see the Light of God shining on Christ. What is the response of these men? Bold faith. They leave the East and head west, following the natural movement of the star. These men would have sacrificed much time and money to make such a trip.
Apply: God meets us right where we are. He always calls us to take a step of faith closer to him. What do you need to do in your life to draw closer to him this week as we approach Christmas? What do you need to let go so that you, like the wise men, can pursue Christ and worship him?
Pray: Lord, I want to trust you enough to travel great distances for you, like the wise men did. Help me, Lord, to take a step of faith today! In Jesus’ name, amen.