Wise Men (and Women) Still Seek Him

Shepherds hurried to find him; the Magi (or wise men) braved deserts and mountains to find him; in the blazing noonday sun a defeated Samaritan woman came to him; a skeptic exclaimed, "my Lord and my God" when he found him. And today millions on every continent acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. O come, all ye faithful, to proclaim that God is among us as Jesus the Christ!

Let us pray. O God, you have called us to spread your Gospel in the world today. In the Christ child, You showed us in that single life the love you meant for us to share. Help us share it, Lord. And now may the Gospel come alive for each of us, as your word is proclaimed in this place. In Christ's name. Amen

Not much is known about the Magi, or wise men as we more commonly refer to them. We assume there were three, because three gifts were brought to Jesus. And we assume they were all men, but in truth we don't know.

But what we do know is that these wise men traveled thousands of miles seeking the Messiah, the newborn king, a trip that took probably 1 to 2-years to complete. To our knowledge they had no map, they had no compass, yet some would argue they had to have women with them because they ultimately did find their way.

But the Bible does offer some insight as to how they found there way to Bethlehem. They had a star to guide them on their journey, a star of wonder, a star of light, a star of hope.

Now by the time the wise men found Mary and Joseph they were married, living in a house, and were intending to stay in Bethlehem for a while. And when the star they had been following settled over the house in Bethlehem, the wise men found Jesus and responded with joy. They immediately worshipped Jesus and gave him gifts of praise.

I'm amazed at the persistence the wise men exhibited, taking 1 to 2 years to seek Jesus, and when they finally found him they gave this little boy gifts often given to a king, or other person of prominence.

They were willing to give what they had, because they knew they had been blessed by Jesus' birth, and that Jesus was the long awaited for Messiah that the prophets had been talking about. So they gave special gifts to Jesus, not so they could receive special favors, but out of praise and thanksgiving. This is the same reason we ought to give today, out of praise and thanksgiving. The Magi were indeed wise people, realizing what God promised had in fact come true, the prophecy fulfilled.

This seeking, and giving of gifts by the wise men, is very different then what we typically see today. Many today expect God to come looking for them, to explain himself, to prove who he is, and to give us gifts, rather then the reverse.

"You want me to believe, then God you better come show me something like a miracle, or give me the winning numbers for the lottery, then I'll believe." Not an unfamiliar attitude we observe, is it?

But those who are truly wise still seek and worship Jesus today, not for what they can get from God, but because they know whom Jesus is. They know that this Jesus, born of Mary, is the Son of God, the one sent to redeem us and to save us. A gift far greater than a one-time miracle, or winning the lottery.

I find myself often times sitting back in my desk chair reflecting on the question, "why is it people don't want to accept Jesus." And yes, I come to the same conclusions many of you do, like, we want to have control of our lives, people can't believe what they can't see, we live in a self-focused world, so on and so forth. But these answers weren't satisfying to me this week. I wanted more.

Why God don't people get it, why don't they seek Jesus with all the energy they have, why can't they see a better life in Jesus, why!!

Well after ranting and raving, and taking a walk this past Monday I received my answer. As humans we don't look for things until we really need them, and even then sometimes we don't, or don't look for the right things.

But isn't it true, we don't seek the things we need until we really need them. Think about it, when do we go to the doctor, not until we need to? When do we call a plumber, not until we need to? When do we study for an exam, not until we need to? Join me. When do we clean the house, not until we need to When do we go to church, not until we need to When do we seek Jesus, not until we need to

You get the idea; we're "not-until-we-need-to" kind of people. And because we're "not-until-we-need-to" kind of people we tend to seek God like he's some kind of divine vending machine. We begin to focus on biblical verses that say, "Ask and it will be given to you," (Matt 7:7) or "Call on my name and I will answer." (Zec 13:9) taking these statements completely out of context to simply suit our needs or desires. And then when we don't get what we want we are quick to blame God, or we're quick to declare the must not be a God.

But prayer and God's Word are not coins to be inserted in a vending machine, and faith is not a button you push out of want. God doesn't submit to our whims and wishes. God is not some heavenly vending machine we seek when we want gifts or favors. God transcends our petty seeking; he is God almighty, love incarnate.

God longs for us his children to return the love he has lavished upon us. He wants us to love him, not things. He wants us to seek him, he wants us to obey him, not because we might be blessed, but because we love him and want to please him. So we need to lose the vending machine mentality and realize the time to seek Jesus is now, not later when it may be too late, but now, so that we can enjoy the blessings of knowing Christ, and live without fear of the future.

The Magi found Jesus as a young child with his mother Mary. We find Jesus today as the living Christ, clothed with glory and honor, seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven. And now he offers us his divine invitation: "Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me." (Rev. 3:20, NRSV)

The babe born to Mary in Bethlehem, who is now the Christ of Glory, is inviting you today, just as the New Year begins, to begin anew with him. Is the door of your heart open to receive his invitation and saving grace?

Wise men and woman still seek him. Amen

Read other messages by Pastor Wade