Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Christmas Question

A Question from the Magi

There are many mysteries surrounding Christmas. Maybe none more so than the visit by the Magi from the East. The star has intrigued people for centuries with many a speculation. To me the issue most interesting is ‘how did the Magi know about a promised Messiah in Israel?’ Who were they and how did they know about the birth of Jesus, a name they would not have known. They did know the one born would be King of the Jews. It would have come about approximately five hundred previously. That was when the Southern Kingdom called Judah was carried off to Babylon. The Lord’s promise of judgement on disobedient Judah became the means for the Gentiles to know about the Messiah. Men of the calibre of Daniel and Ezekiel and their stories are in the bible. How they influenced such men as the Magi can only be speculated but it would have happened. The Babylonian interest in astronomy would be a real lever for Daniel to tell them about the coming King.

We call the Magi the ‘wise men’ and rightly so. However they needed someone to tell them “where is He who is born King of the Jews”. Notice, they didn’t say the baby was the heir to the throne. No! He was born King. Where was the answer found? In the Bible! For them the answer came from Micah 5:2. Christmas was not unexpected. It had been long planned. In fact from Genesis 3 in the promise to Eve and the warning to the Devil.

People who are wise still ask a similar question “where is He who was born King?” If they linger over the manger and imagine He is still a baby they’ll never meet Him. The quest for Him may begin at the manger but there is a trail leading from there to follow. We track Him down along the road marked out in the Gospels. As you read that map you find special places marked out where this Jesus met and fulfilled certain prophetic criteria. But He didn’t stay there. He had moved on to the tragedy of rejection, false accusations and finally a criminal’s death on a cross. The search of the Magi must seem to end there at Calvary. Over the head of this Jesus was a sign ‘Jesus King of the Jews’.

Now people search for His tomb. They would like to make it a sacred place, a pilgrimage centre. But He isn’t there. He has risen! It’s an empty space. Now this could create a problem for those who ask the Magi’s question, “Now where is He who was born King of the Jews”? Their answer came from scripture. So will the answer come to the wise from the scriptures who still seek to find Him. As you follow the trail set out in the bible you don’t end at a tomb. You climb the Mt. of Olives and read about His ascension to the Father’s realm. From there Jesus has promised to return to earth to complete the promises yet outstanding.

Does that mean you or I cannot find Him and know Him now? Of course not! The biblical information which motivated the Magi has been filled out in greater detail for us. Their knowledge and faith gave them motivation to find this Jesus. The same goes for us. Knowledge from the bible about the promised one and faith to believe what it says prepares a meeting ground. It has now become a heart and mind matter more than a seeing one. Romans 10:9-11 ‘If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.”’

When that act of faith takes place you discover more to the answer the Magi were after. You find that Jesus is Lord of Lords and King of Kings who one day will rule over the Kingdom of God. Also you will find this Jesus to be your Saviour and companion along life’s way. How to you keep in touch with Him? Through the scriptures, learning to talk with Him and meeting with those of like heart and mind.


  1. Very interesting Ray. I must admit to having never given much thought beyond the fact that they came, assuming some divine instruction with the star to guide them. Always appreciated your teaching and challenge taking me beyond my own thoughts. Thank you for helping me discover the fullness of the one sought by the Magi. What a Saviour, what a friend. Praise his holy name.