Dwight Fletcher | The Praise of The Wise - Part II
Last week, we looked at the three wise men or 'Magi' of the Bible, whose story is found in Matthew 2. We often take their story for granted and get lost in the charismatic Christmas carols about their activities. Who has not enjoyed a well-sung Noel?
"Three wise men came from country far;
To seek for a King was their intent,
And to follow the star wherever it went.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
Born is the King of Israel."
However, we see that the three wise men must have believed that the trip was of critical importance to make it that far and through the peril that would possibly face them. Why would they do this? And what can we learn from the wisdom of their ways?
Matthew 2:1-2 (NIV) records that, "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 king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him'." The wise men of the Bible knew that Jesus was the King of the Jews! They knew that He was the Saviour of the world and the fulfilment of prophecy. Maybe they also knew that he would heal the sick, raise the dead and secure freedom for the oppressed.
But more important, they recognised that they were lost without Him. They knew that human beings are spirit, soul and body. They knew that their spirit would live forever and needed to be rescued from its dead state. So, they left their pagan worship behind to find and worship the true God and King who was the Saviour of their soul.
These were educated men but they knew that their wisdom and wealth was worth nothing if they did not surrender to Jesus' Lordship. Finding Him was worth more than all the riches they had. At Christmas, we are usually caught up with repainting the house, upgrading the car or getting the latest toys for our children. But Christmas is really a time to find Jesus. No matter how much hustle and bustle there is, we must zoom in on the centre of Christmas - CHRIST.
These wise men focused on Christ so they got their:
1. Priorities right - Nothing was more important than Jesus the King. After leaving King Herod, "When they saw the star, they were overjoyed." Matthew 2:10 (NIV). To the wise men, it did not matter if they were inconvenienced; if they had to risk their very lives; if they had to pay a high cost or even if they did not find this King in a palace. All that mattered was that they found Him.
2. Place right - He is the King of all kings and creator of the world. So what did these wise men do? "On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him." Matthew 2:11a (NIV). The wise men understood that they were subject to Jesus and He did not have to look like a king to convince them. There were probably some things that they did not understand but these men were willing to put aside their own sense of self-importance to bow down before Jesus, who they knew was King.
And we also have to get our place right. Jesus Christ is Lord and although God is loving and merciful, we cannot take Him for granted. He is the King of Glory, the giver of light and life. We must know our place and give Him the reverence and attention that He deserves.
So, the wise men got their priorities right and their place right and because of that they got their:
3. Praise right - When you are wise, you also get your praise right. In Matthew 2:11b (NIV) it says, "Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh." When the wise men saw Jesus, the environment and his age did not matter to them. They were probably tired from the long journey but nothing was more important than their worship. And they did it before He ever did a single miracle, before He was even vaguely recognisable as God the Son.
How much more should we bow down and praise Jesus; bow down and worship Him. We should be quick as a people to revere His Name.
If you too are wise, you will follow their example and accept Jesus for who He is - the King of kings. Don't believe that you are too far from God for Him to give you a chance; you may be exactly who God is looking for.
In Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV) God says, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." God is interested in those who want to know Him more than anything else. And like the wise men, you will be rewarded with finding Him so that you can put Him in the right place in your life and give Him the right praise.
If you are ready to make Jesus a priority in your life, then say this simple prayer and find yourself a church home to start praising the King this Christmas:
"Dear God, I come to You in the Name of Jesus. I admit that I am not right with You, and I want to be right with You. I ask You to forgive me of all my sins. The Bible says if I confess with my mouth that 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead, I will be saved (Romans 10:9). So today, I believe with my heart and I confess with my mouth that Jesus is the Lord and Saviour of my life. Thank You for saving me! Amen."