4th January 2019

Led by God

“When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”
Matthew 2:10-11 (ESV UK)

The gospel is full of surprises and unexpected events. Few would have guessed that the first people to worship the Messiah of Israel would be shepherds and foreigners (as the wise men are often assumed to be). It is hard in the modern world to imagine the commitment that these foreigners had in worshipping the king. Generally assumed to be Persian astrologer priests, it is likely they would have travelled on dangerous roads for months before arriving in Jerusalem.

Yet as the scripture today suggests, when they saw the star that would lead them to Jesus, they ‘rejoiced exceedingly’. God had revealed to them a cosmic map that led them to Jesus, and their response was one of ‘great joy’. They had been included in the story that would forever change the course of the world – the coming of the messiah who saves us from our sins. Their difficult journey was something that brought them joy because they were being led by God.

Upon finding Jesus with his mother, it would have been easy to have been disappointed. Jesus did not live in luxury, and his (adoptive) father Joseph was not wealthy or a great warrior. Yet we read that the wise men fell down before Jesus upon seeing him and worshipped him. They saw him, not as the world saw him, but as the King he already was, as the Son of God.

They did not come empty-handed, and, upon seeing Jesus, they open their treasures to give him gifts. They had travelled all this distance with precious cargo so that they could honour a foreign king – one that was not even recognised by his own people! In doing so we can see that worship is about more than just saying the odd prayer or singing the occasional hymn. It is about trusting God even when we cannot always clearly see the destination where he is leading us. It is about seeing beyond the worldly image that is often presented to us. It is giving God the most precious things we have because we recognise that he is our King.

Prayer
Father, let us rejoice because you have given us your Son. Give us a spirit of praise, that we may, with great joy, worship you as our Lord and King. Let us joyfully give you of what we have, knowing that, through the precious life of your Son, we are abundantly rich. In Christ’s name.
Amen

Study by Gavin Henderson

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About the Author:
Gavin Henderson is an Elder and the Operations Manager of the National Ministry Team for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.

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