The Journeyers

AM Psalm 30, 32; PM Psalm 42, 43
Haggai 2:1-19; Rev. 3:1-6; Matt. 24:1-14

Anyone reading the stories of the Wise men in Matthew 2 will be struck by the word “worship.”

The entire journey of the magi is motivated by the desire to come and “worship.” When they find the child, they prostrate themselves in worship, and give their famous gifts.

Why would anyone come from their own country and culture, across the desert, in order to worship? Why would that worship take the form of honoring with royal gifts a family that had no external connections to royalty at all? Why would these men do the inexplicable and return with no tangible results of their quest?

The wise men are, in many ways, the most insightful people in the Gospels. God has given them a hunger for the truth, and their life’s quest is to find that truth. Their worldview is surely turned upside down by what they discover, and though they are not parts of the visible church, they always stand as among the very first to understand the significance of Jesus.

In contrast to Herod’s lying pretense of worship, the wise men undertake a reorintation of their entire lives around the person of Jesus, and the God who is revealed in him. Though the Bible tells the church to take the Gospel to all nations, the wise men remind us that it is God who gives eyes to see and ears to hear. It is God who creates- and satisfies- the hunger to know God.

The wise men should be the patron saints of all who would say that this life is a journey, an adventure, of discovering the adventure of what God is doing in the world through Jesus Christ. They should be the patrons of all those who understand that the highest wisdom is to bow down before the mystery of Christ.

Their journey models for me what a life of faith, repentance and worship ought to mean. Their courage to “go another way” reminds me of the path of discipleship. Their constant rejoicing reminds me of what ought to be the “music” of Jesus in my life.

The wise men belong to Epiphany, and not to Advent or Christmas, but we can always welcome these visitors, their gifts for the Savior and their message for all of us.

(Michael Spencer)

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~ by Michael on December 10, 2005.

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