January 7 @ Matthew 1-2

Matthew 1-2 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: He came to rule in our hearts as King

A few years ago an advertisement on television offered the viewers the opportunity to buy a star and name it after someone special.  After watching the ad one night, my husband turned to me and asked while attempting to hide his grin, “Would you like a star named after you for your birthday?”  I thanked him for his generous offer but went on to say something to the effect that I hadn’t really accomplished anything to date that would warrant star-naming; but if that changed, I would let him know.  So far, no stars are out there in the heavenlies bearing my name. Our reading today renews in our minds the story we know so well about a brilliant star that announced the birth of a King, someone worthy to have the entire universe bear His name. 

@ Matthew 2
“Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.’” (1-2)  Most of the wise men of that day were from Persia, a great distance away, and their commitment to finding the newborn King of the Jews is astounding to me.  How did they know the scripture about the birth of Jesus?  They may have been Jews from families that did not leave Persia after the captivity or perhaps scripture scrolls had been left behind after the Jews left.  Whatever the case, they saw the star, studied the scripture and began seeking the King.  Knowing Him as we do, how can we do anything less today?

When they arrived at the location the star had indicated, I can only imagine their disappointment to learn that no one knew about the birth of the king.  No celebration, no paparazzi, no fireworks!  They went to the rulers of the day who really should have been responsible for the festivities and found ignorance and apathy.  When the rulers realized who it was the wise men were seeking, King Herod’s ignorance turned to rage and the apathy of the Jewish leaders … remained the same.

King Herod was a ruthless leader who used politics and violence to secure his throne.  His taxation made him popular in Rome and his rebuilding the Temple pleased the Jews for a time.  He viewed the birth of this “king of the Jews” as a threat to capture his throne, but the newborn was only interested in capturing his heart.  We rub shoulders every day with people of position, power and prosperity who are often threatened by the thought of allowing a new king to rule in their hearts.  They try to kill him off with their legislation and ridicule of Him, but just like the infant so long ago, Jesus still lives, rules and reigns today and longs to capture their hearts.

The Jewish priests and scribes were well aware of the coming King, the Messiah, and knew all the scripture about Him including the prophecy of His birthplace in Micah 5:2, but for centuries they had added their own religious traditions and their own beliefs about the Messiah and this little infant born in Bethlehem was not relevant to them. The One they were looking for was born five miles away from them, and they missed Him!  We, too, can miss Him and what He is doing on the planet today when we are held back by our own traditions and beliefs and by the influence of those who rule in ignorance. Of the cast of characters in our reading today, I want to be a wise man.  I want to see His star shining in the world today, search the Scriptures for everything about Him and seek His presence with all of my heart. 

Moving Forward: My guarantee today from His Word, “you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:29)  Yes, the familiar cliché has to be said, wise men still seek Him today! 

Tomorrow @ Romans 3-4

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