December 23, 2020
Dear Praying Friends,
Thank you for your diligence in prayer both for our prodigals and for revival. True wisdom is from God. “But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace-loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere” (Jam. 3:17).
It was a journey of a lifetime. Years of study and research. Years of preparation that would demand much forethought. Expense was not spared in any way, shape, or form. Desire mingled with anticipation at the reality of a life’s dream come true. They were men of means, men of stature, men of culture, men of wisdom, men of the Word, men of willing hearts, and men with great courage, who left their homeland in the eastern regions of Persia and headed west in search of the King! They were the magi, who sought and met the Messiah prophesied from ages past. And they were not disappointed! For all who seek Him will find Him and will be fully satisfied.
Matthew tells the story, “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.’ King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, ‘Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?’ ‘In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they said, ‘for this is what the prophet wrote: “And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.”’ Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, ‘Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!’ After this interview, the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy” (Matt. 2:1-10).
You might just call this the clash of the kings. The Roman king, a wicked, cruel tyrant of a man, and a little baby, identified here as “the newborn king of the Jews.” Herod the Great felt an immediate threat and sought to do what he had always done — eliminate the threat! In this case, it wouldn’t work because the plans of Rome collided with the purposes of God.
The prophecy mentioned in verse six comes from the writings of Micah and it reveals the great contrast of Jesus with Herod. “For out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.” The Lord Jesus is the ruler with a shepherd’s heart. This is such a beautiful description of His character and kingdom. It is interesting that the religious leaders in Jerusalem knew this prophecy and yet showed no interest in being a part of his welcome party. This was the most significant of all earthly events, the most important of all prophecies and yet they had no heart for Him. How extremely sad! “He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him” (Jn. 1:11).
The magi followed the star to where the child was and they bowed down and worshipped Him (Lk. 2:11). There was no delay, no inhibition, no reluctance. They recognized the Messiah from the ancient Scriptures, the true King of kings, and fell immediately before Him, and worshipped Him. Once homage was made, they opened their treasures. These were expensive, costly gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, brought from the east - gifts suitable and appropriate for a king. Imagine the wealth contained in those gifts. Some scholars suggest it would have been enough to support Jesus’ family until their return from Egypt.
There are three questions I would like to close with, which hopefully will challenge you as they have me:
Firstly, have you found Him today? You may very well have found Him for salvation, yet have missed the time you need with Him in communion each day. He is always there waiting to be found by you. He wants you to come and you desperately need Him.
Secondly, have you fallen before Him today? Have you acknowledged His Lordship and Kingship in your life. He is the King and He reigns in glory. He desires that your heart be filled with worship, and your knee be fully bent in loyalty to Him and His cause.
Thirdly, have you given gifts to Him today? The wonder of grace is that all that you have first belonged to Him. He gave you and gives you everything. It is an honor to give back what He rightfully deserves.
We hope you have a great Christmas season, and that your thoughts often rest upon the beauty of the King born in Bethlehem. He lived, He suffered, He bled, He died, He rose, and one day the King will come again.
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel