Daily D – Matthew 2:11
They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. MATTHEW 2:11 (NLT)
It has been a while since anything unusual happened to Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. Joseph found employment. The family now had a house. Jesus was no longer a baby. He was likely closing in on his second birthday. (See verse 16.)
Tradition says there were three wise men because that is the number of the kinds of gifts given. The wise men are also called magi, royal astrologers, and kings depending on the Bible translation in use or the song you sing.
There is a star, an evil king, and mass murder included in this story. There are prophecies fulfilled (and ignored). There are dreams of warning. There is a great escape. It is a thrilling episode found here in Matthew 2.
It is easy to get so caught up in the details, the esoterica, that we miss the most meaningful words of the whole text.
They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.
These wise men bowed in worship to Jesus. They worshiped him.
They saw him not only for who he was but for who he would become. They saw him for why he came.
Elizabeth and Zechariah help us understand something about Jesus.
Joseph and Mary help us understand more about Jesus.
The angels and shepherds help us understand still more.
Simeon fills in even more details.
Anna and the wise men show us the proper response to the incarnation: worship and acknowledgment through significant gifts.
When we see Jesus for who he is, when we understand why he came, then we can grasp what gives our lives meaning. Knowing him, honoring him with our lives, declaring the truth of who he is, serving others in his name — this is our purpose.
Joseph did this the way God wired him to live. So did Mary. Zechariah and Elizabeth, the angels and the shepherds, Simeon and Anna, and the wise men from afar, all honored Jesus in their unique roles. What each of them did not only honored Jesus, they also served others. God’s favor rested upon them and they extended that favor far and wide.
Christmas is over. The tree has come down. The ornaments and decorations have been put away. Trash has been gathered and thrown away. Boxes and paper are in the recycling bin. But the story goes on.
Jesus, born like every baby, worshiped as a toddler, “grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people,” (Luke 2:52). This is the Never-ending Story, the story that gets better as we go, the story that has yet to have its final chapter recorded although it has been foretold.
The celebration of his birth has now passed. Honoring him and serving others goes on. Worship is not only an event, it is a lifestyle. Join this host of characters in living lives that honor Jesus for who he is and serving others in his name. As Linus told Charlie Brown, “That’s what Christmas is all about.”
I will live a lifestyle of worship.
Our Father, thank you for this story. Thank you for coming to us. Thank you for doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Thank you for empowering us to live the kinds of lives in our individual roles that honor you and serve others. May we live to the praise of your glory in all that we do. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 8:12-18 When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, and your herds and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, a thirsty land where there was no water. He brought water out of the flint rock for you. He fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your ancestors had not known, in order to humble and test you, so that in the end he might cause you to prosper. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me,’ but remember that the Lord your God gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm his covenant he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.