At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, but there’s so much more to the story. As we enter the last week of Advent, assess how you’ve been responding to Christ this season. Are you experiencing peacefulness, fear, excitement, anger, hatred, joy?
Allow this final Advent devotional from Will Graham’s book In the Presence of the King permeate your heart and center your thoughts on the Savior.
This the final week of the 4-part Advent devotional series.
Scripture: Matthew 2:1-2, 9-12, NKJV
Who were these foreign visitors that arrived at the steps of Herod’s palace? We know very little. They’re often referred to as wise men, or magi, or even kings.
We do know that they were from “the East,” which encompasses so much territory that it’s hard to pinpoint an exact location. While there are many fascinating theories about these mysterious ambassadors, their origination, and their motivation, we can assume that they were well-educated, upper class, and likely not Jewish.
In short, one would not expect rich men of status to travel across the vast expanse of the Middle East to track down a baby in Judah. Perhaps they had studied the ancient texts of the prophets, which pointed to the coming Messiah, who was to be born of David’s line in the small town of Bethlehem. Still, their interest in this Jewish baby was not just intellectually or curiosity-driven. No, they had “come to worship Him.”
Unlike Mary and the shepherds, who were shaken from their everyday lives by a sudden jolt of a heavenly presence, the wise men were able to methodically take their time. They recognized a star in the sky that was leading them on to the Christ child, and they followed it until they found the Boy.
How did they respond at the end of their journey, as this pivotal moment came to fruition? “They rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him.”
Imagine the look on the faces of Mary, the teenage mother, and Joseph, the carpenter, when these exotic visitors entered, knelt in worship, and then presented gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. These were gifts of great value, befitting a king.
As if a visit from the angels wasn’t enough, now foreign dignitaries were entering their humble home. Not only had the heavenly realms proclaimed the arrival of the Savior, but earthly kingdoms were recognizing the importance of this moment as well.
In the coming days, you’ll likely be surrounded by family and friends. Hopefully many of them will know Jesus intimately, but others may be like the wise men. They may be coming from a place far away—not physically, but spiritually. They may know of Jesus, but have never met Him personally. I would encourage you to look for opportunities to share the hope of Christ with them. Like the wise men, Jesus may be exactly what they’re looking for, and—once they’ve found Him—they too can “rejoice with exceedingly great joy!”
Discussion Questions: What things bring you the most joy? The wise men brought gifts to Jesus. How are you using your gifts to bring glory to Him?
Prayer: Dear Jesus, I praise You, my Savior. You humbled Yourself and came to earth to save broken sinners like us, leaving Your heavenly throne. You are worthy of our worship and adoration. Help me to live a life worthy of Your sacrifice. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
The greatest gift this season can’t be wrapped in colorful paper. It is the gift of eternal life only Jesus can offer. Experience His love for you.
Scripture Reference: Matthew 2:1-2, 9-12, NKJV
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,
2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.
11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.