You May Come and Worship Him

The third group that responded to Jesus’ birth were the wise men. The wise men arrive at Jerusalem with a key question. “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him” (Matt. 2:2, ESV). These guys were Gentiles. How did they know about Jesus?[1] They may have known about the prophecy through some Jews in Babylon (perhaps Num. 24:17).[2] According to the Dead Sea scrolls, which were written during the Second Temple Period (730 BCE – 70 CE) , there were Jews who believed that Balaam’s prophecy of a star coming out of Jacob (Num. 24:17) point to a Messianic Savior.[3]

These wise men heard about the OT prophecy. When they heard it, they believed it. They watched out for the one star of Judah. They saw the star and then followed it up to Jerusalem.

While Herod was troubled, the wise men were at peace. While Herod was sad, they were glad. While the religious leaders were uncaring about the child, the wise men were excited to worship Him.

After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy (Matt. 2:9-10, ESV)

That is what we should do after Christmas. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Let us be excited about Christ. Let us seek to worship Him.

Christ is the ruler and shepherd of Israel (Matt. 2:6). As ruler, He governs. As shepherd, He guides. In the context of Matthew 2, the rule of Jesus is the rule of the king who gives commands and controls the affairs of his kingdom. As ruler, he governs with all control and authority. As shepherd, he guides with all grace and gentleness.

Therefore, we should not treat Jesus as some heavenly waiter who is obliged to give you all your needs. That is the problem with the prosperity gospel, a false gospel. It pictures God as somebody who is obliged to make you healthy and wealthy if you just say it and claim it.

No, God is not obliged to make you rich. To the contrary, you are obliged to bless God. The wise men did not come to be blessed by Christ and his gifts. They came to bless Christ with their gifts. You are obliged to worship Christ. He is the ruler and shepherd of Israel. Let us honor him for who he is!

[1] If these wise men were powerful Persian officials, their knowledge of the Hebrew prophecies go back to the time of Daniel (Dan. 5:11).

[2] Barbieri, Matthew, PC Study Bible CD-Rom.

[3] Michael J. Wilkins, “Matthew,” in ESV Study Bible (Wheaton: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 1822.


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