Journey through the New Testament – Day 3. Read Matthew Chapter 2 vs. 1-12 “Visitors from Eastern Lands”. These verses tell about the wise men who followed the star to see Jesus.
The land of Israel was divided into four political districts and several lesser territories. Bethlehem of Judea (also called Judah) has been prophesied as the Messiah’s birthplace in Micah 5:2. (As my husband often says, as you study the bible you will see that the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed and the Old Testament is the new Testament concealed.) Herod the Great was king over all 4 districts. While he was a ruthless, evil man who murdered many in his own family, Herod supervised the renovation of the Temple. He made it much larger and more beautiful. This made him popular with many of the Jews. Jesus would visit Jerusalem many times because the great Jewish festivals were held there. – – What I took away from this, we as Christians need to be careful that we don’t get so distracted worrying about the building we attend that we forget to be the church. Ouch, I know! We have a generation that wants a large building and entertainment (along with their donuts and coffee) or well, it’s just not the church for them. What if we had to sit on a dirt floor to worship like they do in some third world countries? Would we then go to church? But I guarantee those who go sit on a dirt floor in a shack with no heat and no air are more likely seeing a greater move of God. I truly believe if the devil can’t beat us, he’ll distract us. We get so distracted with our opinion of how the building should look – carpet or tile, chairs or pews … we can get so distracted with “programs” (and then getting our feelings hurt if they don’t operate the way we think they should) that we forget prayer – that we step out of relationship! Don’t let that happen – guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
The wise men traveled thousands of miles to see the king of the Jews. When they finally found him, the responded with joy, worship and gifts. This is so different from the approach people often take today. We expect God to come looking for us, to explain himself, prove who he is, and give US gifts. But those who are wise will still seek and worship Jesus today, not for what they can get, but for who he is.
Herod was ruthless and worried about this new king. Today’s text tells us that not only was Herod disturbed, but so was everyone in Jerusalem. When Jesus was born into the world, people immediately began to react. His presence did not soothe and comfort most people; instead, it startled and disturbed them. In some he awakened spiritual longings; inn others, fear and insecurity. Things have not changed much. Jesus still disturbs people. It is true that God entered our world when Jesus was born, we dare not sit idly by ignoring and rationalizing our inaction. We must acknowledge Jesus as the rightful King of our lives.
Be blessed sweet friends and have a great day! Remember to pray for our nation.