Detail of "Visit of the Wise Men" from
The Bible in Pictures © 1922
TO CHEW ON: "When they saw the star they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy." Matthew 2:10
Four attitudes jump out at me from this amazing story of these eastern pilgrims on their quest to find the King of the Jews.
I've always wondered, where exactly is the East? Did these men travel far? Over difficult terrain? When they got to Jerusalem and found no knowledge whatever of this king, did they wonder if they'd got it wrong? Feel like turning back? Through all this, they persevered to their satisfying destination.
I love the description of them rejoicing with "exceedingly great joy." I imagine the reappearance of the star as they were leaving Jerusalem felt like a divine seal of approval on this quest they had undertaken with a sense of 'this is what we were destined to do.' Now they knew—No, we didn't get it wrong! We're in the right place at the right time.
Jealous Herod introduced the idea when he sneakily asked them to report back to him so he could worship too. Worship is what the wise men did when they found Jesus, and fell down before the young Child. "Fell down" (used in the NKJV, Amplified, and ESV versions) is interesting. We would expect a more controlled action, like "bowed down" perhaps (which is how it's translated in the NIV and NLT). I like "fell down." I wonder if here, in the presence of Jesus, they were overcome by the power and glory of deity so that their limbs gave out and they literally fell down?
What gifts—gold, frankincense and myrrh—signifying the best of earth's treasures, entirely suitable for a King! These wise men gave them with abandon, not flinching for a moment at the humble surroundings or the ordinary-looking mom.
I want these attitudes of perseverance, joy, worship and generosity to characterize my relationship with Jesus. What about you?
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, help me to seek You with perseverance, find You with joy, worship You with all of me, and give You my best. Amen.
Today is the day the church celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany. The liturgy for the day begins with this Collect:
O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.