“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…they entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” – Matthew 2:1-2,11.
Everybody loves the story of the wise men. We’re told there were three wise men, that they were kings, that they came from the East, and that they found Jesus in the manger. They were true Jesus seekers who traveled long and far, overcoming obstacles and distractions, to follow God’s call on them and see the young Messiah. Though we don’t have a lot of specific information about them, there are many things they can teach us.
First, consider the journey. Traveling at that time was far different than it is today. They couldn’t just jump into a car or hop on a plane and set out and arrive later that day. Traveling was lengthy, wearying, and dangerous. We don’t know how they traveled, but the fastest way at that time was camels. Even if they took camels it would have been a lengthy trip of perhaps months. Riding on a camel is not comfortable. Desert weather often varies greatly between the heat of the day and the cold of the night. There would be storms. Towns would be few and far between. Roads were not developed. And there were bandits lurking. The journey alone was a major obstacle.
Second, there was no guarantee of success. The wise men didn’t have a lot of data to draw from. There were no guarantees that they would find the King they were looking for. But they believed. We see evidence of this in their journey and also in verse 2 when they ask Herod “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” They were willing to sacrifice comfort and security to see and worship Him. Why? Because of faith, they overcame the second obstacle. The third obstacle was staying focused. Their journey took them to the palace, but then in the end they followed the star again and that led them to Jesus.
The three wise men overcome all obstacles to find their way to Jesus. This baby Boy born in a manger grows into a Man giving food to the hungry, health to the sick, life to the dead. He eventually dies upon a cross taking every wrong thing upon Himself that you ever could do, ever might do so you can enjoy life in all of its fullness now and life in all of its fullness for eternity. This Jesus gives us the opportunity for a personal relationship with the living God. If we persevere even when it’s hard we can make it to Jesus. God’s with us in the middle of the storms we are facing. It is so easy to miss the star and miss the way to Jesus because our focus is in the wrong place, we are looking in the wrong location or the obstacles are too much for us.
There are no obstacles that should keep us from an intimate relationship with the risen Savior.
- What are some obstacles in your life? Are they different during Christmas?
- How can the story of the wise men help us deal with these obstacles?