Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men[a] 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[b] and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
There are many things we do not know about these Wise Men, but scripture gives us some important details. The first thing we realize is that these men, who were likely not Jewish, knew the Jewish scripture. When they saw the star, they knew it was a sign that the promised King of the Jews had been born. We are also given an indication that the Wise Men came from somewhere east of Jerusalem. They had likely never made this trip before, so they may have been going into unknown territory searching for a promise, a child, they were not even sure they would find. The Wise Men must have traveled far, because scripture refers to Jesus as a child, not a baby when the Wise Men entered the house. Many assume that there were three Wise Men because of the three gifts that they brought; gold, frankincense and myrrh. However, there could have been more men and additional gifts.
When thinking about the journey that these men took to find Jesus, without the luxuries we have when we travel, we can imagine several sacrifices they must have made. Time is a commodity that we hold dear, and often use as an excuse to not volunteer, or offer our services and talents to a cause. It would have taken the Wise Men many months to find the promised Saviour. They sacrificed the convenience of staying comfortably at home and instead embraced the difficulties of living on the road. They sacrificed their wealth by offering Christ expensive gifts. They sacrificed the known for the unknown. They sacrificed all of this because they believed God’s words and wanted to worship the Messiah, King Jesus.
This is not just an intriguing story. The recording of this event should have an impact on our lives. Consider the following questions:
As you think about each of the Gifts of Christmas that you have looked at over the past several days, through the blogs written on this website, please consider the following:
Determine with me to worship Christ today by obeying Romans 12:1
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
What an exciting night for the shepherds. Such a range of emotions they experienced. First, they were frightened at the appearance of the angels. Then, imagine their wonder at the message they heard. Could this really be true? Had the Christ, the promised one truly been born that very night? Next, as they approached the newborn baby they probably felt, as we all do at the sight of such a tiny life, the marvel of the miracle of birth. Finally, the feeling of overwhelming thankfulness and praise to God the Father for the faithfulness of a Promise Kept.
Overwhelmed with thankfulness and praise, the shepherds could not keep the good news to themselves. They hurried away and began to tell others what they had seen and heard.
Do you remember the time you believed the “Good News” of Jesus? Do you remember when you first truly understood the meaning of Jesus’ sacrifice, and His offer of forgiveness of sin? Was your heart full of thankfulness and praise as you acknowledged those truths and accepted Christ as your personal Saviour and Lord? If you were like me, it was not my first instinct to shout it from the mountain top, but my heart was certainly full of joy and thanksgiving to Jesus. But as a very shy seven-year-old I kept my praise and thanksgiving deep within me. However, as I matured in my faith, and grew in my confidence in Christ, there have been many times that I have been able to praise God publicly and speak of His love and forgiveness.
As we keep fresh those memories of our salvation, our praises flow naturally, over and over again.
If you have never understood the importance of Jesus’ life, nor understood the need for Him to be a part of your daily life, please follow this link or email me at email@example.com and I will be happy to try to answer your questions.
Praying you know the Joy of giving Jesus the Gift of Praise at this Christmas Season
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
God sent angels to proclaim that the promised Messiah, the Saviour who had been promised to the Jews for decades, had finally been born. The angels brought this Good News with all the celebration expected for royalty. This news would bring joy and peace to any and all who would believe,
The meaning of that joyous announcement was probably not fully understood by the shepherd’s that night. However, in the years that have followed, Jesus’ life and teaching continue to bring clarity to those who ponder God’s promises and plans. We have the privilege of holding God’s Word in our hands, reading and studying those promises and then accepting the gift of salvation.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever
believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
How did you hear about God’s gift of Salvation? Who p you proclaimed to you the news that Jesus Christ could bring you forgiveness for your sin, and peace as you face life’s difficulties? This Christmas season may be a good time for you to write down your memories of just how God’s message of salvation was first announced to you. It could also be the time to contact with those who brought you that news and thank them for their love and concern for you.
Hearing of God’s good news is a memory to treasure. Passing that good news on to others is also a memory you will not likely forget. Is there someone God is prompting you to speak to? Who, in your sphere of influence, needs to hear the good news of Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection, love and forgiveness? Help make this the year they are able to really celebrate Christmas.
Matthew 1:18 – 25
Now the birth of Jesus Christ[a] took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
Joseph was a man of impeccable character. His desire was to treat his beloved Mary with the respect and tenderness that she deserved. But clearly his heart and mind were in conflict. However, it didn’t take him long to determine what he would do. God had spoken, and Joseph would obey. He also knew that people would question and talk, but he knew that if God directed, God would give them both the ability to withstand any criticism that came their way. He was determined to prove his love for God by following the words Jesus Christ would speak many years later.
John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments”
Is God asking you to step out and to do something hard and out of your comfort zone this Christmas season? There are many who cross your path every day who need a word of encouragement, a warm meal, or a warm pair of socks.
Has God given you a clear plan, or commandment?
How will you respond with your gift of Obedience?
Debi Snider... more