We Have Come to Worship Him

December 4, 2022

Matthew 2:1-2 NIV

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.”

Today's Reading: Matthew 2:1-2

Devo Author: Mickey Rapier

Date: December 4, 2022

When I was a boy, my family spent every Christmas Eve with my dad’s family. They lived about 20 miles away and the late-night ride home after the festivities always seemed to take forever. Christmas morning ushered in the very best day of the year and minutes felt like hours! My dad drove a ’57 Chevy Bel Air that was built like a Sherman tank. (Once, in a fit of anger, I threw a Barq’s Root Beer bottle through that car’s back window when I didn’t get my way - not one of my best decisions!). Okay, back to my Christmas Eve memories. In that car, there was a lot of room above the back seat and beneath the back window (that I had shattered). On the way home from my grandparent’s house, as my mother sang Christmas carols, I would climb over the seat and lie beneath the window, looking up at the stars… watching, and waiting, filled with wonder, knowing Christmas was near.

There was another group of star-gazers awaiting the arrival of the promised child over 2,000 years ago. These wise men were called “Magi,” a Greek word that found its origin in a Persian word that means “experts regarding the stars.” God spoke to this particular group in a language they understood – the stars. Those who study astronomy assert that the alignment of the planets in 7 and 6 B.C. informed the Magi a mighty king would soon be born in Israel. The Magi and their ancestors may have been exposed to the prophecies of Daniel when the Jews were held captive in Babylon following the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.

Newer translations suggest “when it rose” is a better translation than “in the east” because Palestine is west of Persia. If the Magi saw the star in the east, Bethlehem would have been in the opposite direction from Babylon. Some assert the brilliant light in the sky could have been a comet that rose in the east and streaked across the sky, beckoning them westward toward Bethlehem. OR… God may have supernaturally created a magnificent celestial light to guide them to the place where the young child was. In whichever way He chose, God showed them the way and they journeyed hundreds of miles over many weeks. But, the most important aspect of the journey was their intent. They were focused on worshiping this newly born king.

For me, Matthew 1:1-2 begs a question: Do we anticipate our times with God with such fervor and passion? Just how far would we be willing to travel to worship the newborn King? We anticipate the traditions of the Christmas season - family, friends, food, children, gifts… but how tragic if the significance of the Savior becomes an afterthought. May it never be so. We would do well to enter the celebration of Christmas with the wonder of a child noticing the stars for the first time. Let us focus our eyes on Jesus this Christmas season, calling to mind all He has done, and has promised to do, for us. When we do, something wonderful will happen. We will walk in the footsteps of the Magi and we will worship.