I usually associate the story of the wise men bringing gifts to Jesus with the season of Christmas. Reading and contemplating this passage in the middle of August, especially meditating on it with the concept that we are reading “all the words of Jesus” the text has new meaning to me.
The brief synopsis is that these wise men – or “magi” – from the east have seen a star which somehow reveals to them that it marks the birth of the son of God. These men follow the star and end up in Jerusalem. They begin asking in Jerusalem where they might find the newly born king of the Jews. The priests come together and advise King Herod that the prophesies say that the Christ would be born in Bethlehem, so King Herod sends the wise men off to find Jesus. They do – and they bring him gifts and worship him. The Lord appears to Joseph in a dream and warns him of the danger to the infant Jesus by King Herod’s intentions. Joseph and Mary leave in the night with Jesus and stay away in Egypt until the Lord reveals in another dream that it is safe to return to Israel.
When I read this chapter, I’m struck by the amount of faith-driven action. The wise men see and recognize the star of Bethlehem to be a sign that the savior was born. The prophets had written that this would take place thousands of years before – but these men knew the promises God had made and understood the sign that had been given them to be something worth following.
Joseph recognized the dream he had about the danger to his young child to be a direct message from the Lord, and Mary had faith that Joseph knew what he was doing in uprooting the family and moving to a foreign land. Then, years later, Joseph is told in another dream that the danger is over and to go back to Israel, picking up his family and moving yet again.
The faith of these individuals caused them to be able to hear God’s voice, to recognize His signs, and to act in full obedience without doubt. Later, Jesus talks much about faith – it is the link between us here on earth and the Lord God on high! The faith we see in the actions depicted in this chapter is not weak. It is strong enough to silence any and all doubt. This faith demanded immediate action.
Reflect on the faith of those who God chose to be such prominent players in the earthly life of his son Jesus. The level of faith these people had enabled them to take immediate action on something that – to many others (probably most others) would have been ignored, or at best thought about then tucked away.
I wonder what all the Lord is saying to me that I would be able to hear if I had the faith to listen?