Matthew 2 tells the spectacular story of the wise men who came from the east following a star which would lead them to the King of the Jews. These men were Gentile astrologists who had seen signs in the heavens that made them curious enough to make the long journey to Israel for the singular purpose of worshipping this precious child born to be king. They stopped in Jerusalem to ask those who should have known about this event which was foretold in the heavens and the earth where they could find this promised one. The Jewish leaders had to dust off their scrolls and find the place where this very event had been promised some 750 years ago in the book of Micah. Instead of being excited about the possibility of this prophecy being fulfilled they instead became very nervous and even presented a falsehood to the Magi. When they found the child, if they would let the Jewish leaders know, they would come and worship him as well.
As they left the palace in Jerusalem, the star that they had been following for so long shone down upon the very spot where Jesus was located. They followed it’s light and were overcome with joy as they approached Jesus. These men of great stature and import when they encountered Jesus could think of nothing else but to bow down low to the ground and worship Him. They brought to him costly gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gold as a symbol of kingship on earth, frankincense (an incense) as a symbol of deity, and myrrh (an embalming oil) as a symbol of death. I’m certain that they had no idea at the time of the import of their gifts as it had to do with what was going to occur in Jesus’ life. As they prepared to leave, they returned a different way because they had been warned in a dream not to return to Herod in Jerusalem.
Juxtapose the worship of these non-Jewish leaders with those that shared Jesus’ heritage who should have been first in line to worship. Instead of joyfully looking for opportunity to thank God for his precious gift and come to worship him, Herod was furious. He sent a death squad to Bethlehem to kill all of the male children under the age of 2. He had placed himself on the throne of his heart and he couldn’t make room for worship of any other. To do so would be to deny his own rights and privileges. Thankfully, God had warned Joseph in a dream to escape to Egypt and Jesus was unharmed by Herod’s wicked scheme.
To be truly thankful, we must look outside of ourselves. We must follow the signs in our hearts, in the earth, and especially in the Word of God that all point us to the fact that there was one born that is greater than we could ever be. That to pursue Him is a thing of beauty filled with overwhelming joy. When he is found, or should I say when he finds us, there is only one thing to do. Only one response will do. We must fall on our faces before him and worship him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. There is nothing of value in our lives that we won’t be willing to freely give to him when we realize that the one who was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life that I couldn’t life, died a death that I should have died, rose again on the 3rd day having defeated death, hell, and the grave, ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father having been given the name above all names loved us enough to save us.