Wise Men Still Seek Him

Wise Men Still Seek Him

Opening Illustration:
When I was a sophomore in college, I had a buddy come back to school from summer break with a old Jeep. It was white, it had a great lift on it and it had tires that you just wanted to drive through mud with. 

Well one day, that’s exactly what we did. We took his Jeep off road. As he was driving, we found ourself in a wet valley in Shelby County.  It was wet and it was really muddy. Eventually he got the Jeep stuck.  It didn’t seem to matter what we did, the Jeep wouldn’t budge.  

So, we made our way to a phone and called someone to pull us out of the mud. Sure enough, a wrecker showed up.  He made his way into the pit and he informed my friend that he did not need to be pulled out of the mud.  He told us that we were not really stuck at all. He pointed to a gearshift lever that we had not noticed and explained that the jeep had a pulling gear. He showed my friend how to operate the gear; and, the jeep pulled right out of the sand. He then commented, ’You thought you were stuck; but, you had more power than you realized - you just wasn’t using it!"

Friend, perhaps that’s where you spent your 2017. Stuck in the mud of life. You were not going anywhere or doing anything important. Perhaps you thought that was the best you could do. You may have thought you were just spinning your wheels and going no where. Brothers and sisters, you have more power than you realize. God does not want you to stay stuck in your old life, He wants you to seek him. 

In 2018, Will You Be A Seeker or Find Yourself Stuck?

You know, there are a lot of people looking for Jesus these days. Sometimes you can find Jesus in the church. Sometimes you can find Jesus in a homeless shelter. The way I see it, you can find Jesus just about anywhere.  

Think about it, when is the last time you saw Jesus?  

I recently heard the story of Susan Yoder. Susan lives in Memphis, Tennessee. She was driving home one day and she passed a man who, in her imagination, looked exactly like Jesus.  He was dressed in a white robe. He had a red sash draped over his shoulders.  He had on sandals.  She was compelled to stop and ask the man if he needed help. 

The man she stopped is named James Joseph. Jospeh is not a Jesus impersonator but he is unique because he is trying to live the exact same life that Jesus lived. James Joseph has traveled around the world sharing the narrative of the Gospel and the love of Christ with everyone he meets. He just happened to be in Memphis that day. 

“I want to make it very clear that I don’t think I am Jesus and I don’t try to portray Jesus, but I live a lifestyle like he lived.” 

Jospeh has been traveling without money, without food and in many cases without shoes for 26 years. It is his usual look that draws people to him. People see him, think that he is Jesus, and they stop to talk. 

“I meet so many different people in different circumstances so I am able to share with people that are in need, people that are curious, people that are hurting, people that are looking for inspiration.”

Susan Yoder offered James money and he refused. However, Yoder invited James to eat with them and he obliged. He spent the day with Susan and her family. 

James Joseph is quoted discussing his lifestyle, “Just living totally for Him and that gives me a freedom. I don’t have to worry about so many things that practically everybody else does. Just focus on his will.”

James Jospeh is an extreme case. However, his example is compelling. People are looking for Jesus today. Wise men sought after Jesus long ago and people today are still drawn to him. 

Remember, Wise Men Still Seek Jesus Today!

Let’s read from Matthew about how the Wise Men sought after Jesus. 

Matthew 2:1-12 ESV
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men 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 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.

Who Were The Magi?

The original meaning of mάgoi is likely in view here—wise men who interpreted special signs. There are at least three reasons for this identification. First, they acknowledged that they were interested in signs in the heavens. Second, the Bible states that they were from “the East,” which would be in the direction of Babylon and ancient Persia. Third, of all the peoples of “the East,” the Babylonians had many opportunities to learn of the Jewish Scriptures, which contain multiple promises of the coming Messiah. Daniel was an influential government official in Babylon about 600 years earlier, and he foretold the coming of the Messiah (Daniel 9:24-26). Also, tens of thousands of Jews lived in Babylon during the time of the Exile (605–536 BC), and they maintained a large presence there for the following centuries.

Outside of what was stated above, we don’t know that much about the Wise Men. We often think that there were three of them since three gifts were mentioned at their arrival to worship Jesus. However, there were probably more than three. It was probably more likely that there as a great number of them banded together. They would have been numerous and they would have traveled with their families, their servants, their animals and their bodyguards. 

What Made The Magi Special?

How Were The Wise Men Wise?

One thing that we discover about the Wise Men is that they were prepared. “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?” These were men familiar with Scripture. They new that the star signaled the birth of the King of the Jews. They knew that this King was prophesied about and the even knew the general location of the King. How? Well these men were studied up on Old Testament Scripture. 

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.” (Matthew 2:6; cf. Micah 5:2; John 7:42)

Could it be that we often miss Jesus because we are not familiar enough with His Word to see Him?

Another thing that we do know about them is that they were perceptive. They were observant. “For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” These were educated men who studied astrology. They noticed that something dramatic had changed in the night sky and it compelled them to the territory of Jesus’ home. They equated the change in the physical world to a significant event in human history. 

The Wise Men would have immediately been drawn to the star as a sign of something unique taking place in history.

I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth." (Numbers 24:17, KJV)

I still believe that Jesus uses signs and wonders to direct mankind to Himself. He uses nature, people, Scripture, music, and many other tools. However, we have to be observant and perceptive to recognize Him.

How has Jesus used signs to capture your attention recently?

These Wise Men also praised. They were worshippers. We can learn several things from their worship.  First, they were undistracted. Notice that they were not distracted by the trappings of King Herod. Herod was just a man like them.  Sure, he was wealthy, he had a nice house and clothes, but Herod was not worthy of their affections. As people created to worship, we often lose focus of our worship. We place our worship in wrong people and wrong places. 

Are you ever guilty of worshipping the wrong person, place or thing? If so explain.

Next, the Wise Men were undeterred. The Wise Men could have traveled as far as Persia to see this New Born King. Thats a long way to travel. That’s a lot of planning and hardship to endure to see a baby. However, Jesus was worth it. More than worth it. Jesus was worth the hardship and the discomfort of traveling a great distance and at great cost to see the King of Kings. We often let things get in the way of our worship. Perhaps we should follow the leadings of the Magi. 

Scripture tells us that the Magi came with great joy. They were excited to be in the presence of Christ. 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. These men were under the influence of the Holy Spirit. 

When is the last time you felt truly worshipful? 

How did you express your worship to the King of Kings?

So, what lesson is there to learn from the Magi? Well there are several. As I am writing, I am thinking about one lesson for myself. The lesson is that it’s good to change course, especially if that change of course takes you closer to Jesus. In my mind’s eye, I can see these Magi living life. They were enjoying their power.  They had means. However, that star appeared and everything changed. The Magi left everything to find Jesus. They changed their course and that change change the course of their lives. 

Think to yourself, are their areas in your life that need to change course. 

I’ll close with this illustration:

In U.S. Navel Institute Proceedings, the magazine of the Naval Institute, Frank Koch illustrates the importance of obeying the Laws of the Lighthouse. Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on maneuvers in heavy weather for several days. I was serving on the lead battleship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell. The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all activities. 

Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing reported, "Light, bearing on the starboard bow." 
"Is it steady or moving astern?" the captain called out. 

The lookout replied, "Steady, Captain," which meant we were on a dangerous collision course with that ship. 

The captain then called to the signalman, "Signal that ship: ’We are on a collision course, advise you change course twenty degrees.’" 

Back came the signal, "Advisable for you to change course twenty degrees." 

The captain said, "Send: "I’m a captain, change course twenty degrees.’" 

"I’m a seaman second-class," came the reply. "You had better change course twenty degrees." 
By that time the captain was furious. He spat out, "Send: ’I’m a battleship. Change course twenty degrees.’" 

Back came the flashing light, "I’m a lighthouse." 

We changed course. 

The Magi rearchitected their course to reflect what mattered most in their lives, discovering the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

Follow The Course of The Wise Men


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