As we head into Christmas, it is good to be on guard against the temptation to worldliness and materialism. Let’s consider how the wise men, King Herod, and the Sanhedrin responded to God giving his Son to a lost and dying world.
The wise men recognized that Jesus was God’s gift to the world, including them. As Pastor Ray stated in the December 19 broadcast, these wise men were not part of the Sanhedrin, and they were probably pagans. They did not outwardly belong to the people of God. But they recognized that the Messiah was sent for the world, and that included them.
The wise men brought gifts to Jesus. Have you given anything to Jesus this holiday season? Or have you been so caught up in buying gifts for other people that you have neglected to give to Jesus? Who has gotten more of your money: retailers, or Jesus?
The wise men brought precious gifts to Jesus: frankincense, myrrh, and gold. Have you given your gold to Jesus—have you given him what is most precious and expensive to you? Or have you given him just a little bit, and what you comfortably could have gone without, and spent the rest on others and yourself?
The wise men put their faces on the ground before Jesus. The wise men visited Jesus in Bethlehem, though it is uncertain from the Scripture if this was immediately after his birth or if some time had passed. Either way, Jesus was a young child–possibly an infant, and probably no older than two years old. A lot of humility is needed for a grown man, in the presence of others, to bow down before an infant or toddler. And, if the wise men did visit Jesus during the census time, their faces would have been on the floor of a stable. What would their faces have been in? What would it have smelled like? Dirt would be the best option. Have you given up your sense of being somebody before Jesus? Have you given up the pride that would lead you to feel shame at how low you would have to go in order to honestly worship God?
King Herod and the ruling Jews of the Sanhedrin wanted to kill Jesus. These men recognized that Jesus was a threat to their authority, power, and control. Indeed, with the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., their reign was thoroughly destroyed. Now, the kingdom of God, with Jesus Christ as its head, is being brought in the earth. What is your response to all this? Have you given yourself fully to join the ranks of Christ and his saints? Or is Jesus a threat to you—someone who demands that you renounce control of your own life, which control you believe is rightfully yours? Are you part of the rebellion against the kingdom of Christ? If Jesus were to appear before you now, would you sooner kill him than submit to him? How do your actions this past week respond to this question?
Give to Jesus because you love him. Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to consider how, in your actions, you can honestly thank Jesus for being your salvation. If you’ve been caught up in the shopping and buying, get alone with God and allow the Holy Spirit to soften your heart. Consider what it cost Jesus, and still costs him, to save men and women. Stay in prayer until you find that your natural response is to give Jesus everything that you have because you love him.
Beloved, may you be blessed in Jesus Christ this Christmas!