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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1 Chronicles 22:9-13 But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign. He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’ “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the Lord your God, as he said you would. May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.”