Bethlehem . . . a place of wonder and a place of worship. When we worship, we ascribe worth to someone.
Matthew tells the story of the wise men, the Magi: magicians, astronomers, astrologers – possibly from Persia whose knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures could be traced back to the time of Daniel (5:11). These men often served in the royal court throughout the near eastern world as advisors. A strange and curious story, would you agree? With intention and determination, they follow a mysterious star all the way to Jerusalem and ask, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star in the east and have come to worship him” (Matthew 2:2). How did they know?
This caused no small stir! King Herod gathered all the Jewish religious leaders together and asked them where the Messiah was to be born. They knew right away. Micah, the prophet who wrote eight centuries before, had made it clear: Bethlehem.
Herod secretly sent the wise men to Bethlehem. And already in his evil mind, a carefully crafted plan began to take shape to eliminate this potential threat to his throne.
As the wise men went on their way, the star went before them and came to rest over the place where the child was. They “rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.” Presumably, they had been seeking and traveling miles and miles for up to two years. What a venture!! The purpose of their journey was about to come to fruition! They came into the house and fell down and worshiped the little boy who they knew was the king of the Jews. Imagine the scene. Men of prominence in a little house in Bethlehem. And then they opened their treasure bags and offered Him gifts.
Gold, frankincense, and myrrh were standard gifts to honor a king. These valuable gifts, full of significance, were given in an act of worship and demonstrated their belief in Jesus' deity.
True Worship goes beyond wonder to great joy as we ascribe worth to the Deity whose wonderful plan for the ages includes you and me. Will we humbly bow down and worship the newborn King this Christmas? Will we yield ourselves and our gifts to Him?
Perhaps you’ve taught your preschoolers this little poem:
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I’d bring a lamb.
If I were a wise man, I’d do my part.
What can I give Him? I’ll give Him my heart.
Man looks on the outward appearance, the sparkle, the preparations, the food and gifts and all the rest, but God desires our hearts.