When Jesus was born, most of the world didn’t expect the King to arrive into such unassuming, humble circumstances, even though His coming was prophesied of hundreds of years beforehand. Isaiah said the Messiah would come from Galilee (Isaiah 9:1) and would have “no form or majesty that we should look upon him nor appearance that we should desire him.” (Isaiah 53:3) The prophet Micah noted that Bethlehem would be the origin of birth 700 years before Jesus was born saying this, “Bethlehem, although you are small among the tribes of Judah, from you will come forth for Me one who will be ruler over Israel.” (Micah 5:2)
According to Matthew 2:2, “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, wise men came from the east to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who was born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” Here is what is so stunning: The wise men from Persia and Babylon had traveled thousands of miles to find the Messiah based on the prophecies, yet the leaders of the Jewish people – who had all the same access to those prophecies and had studied them for hundreds of years – wouldn’t even walk down the street to see if any of it were true! It wasn’t that the Jewish religious leaders were ignorant – far from it! They were indifferent. Why? Because they didn’t see themselves in need of a Savior.
“…the unsaved, godless men saw a Savior while the religious leaders of the Jews missed the Messiah and ultimately crucified Him – fulfilling prophecies they, themselves knew about!”
Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Mark 2:17) The people who will do whatever it takes to find Jesus Christ, those who know they need Him, who recognize that their lives are incomplete or lacking or without identity or purpose, who are done with the life of sin – they are those who see a King in the humble servant Jesus Christ and are willing to fall down and worship Him. Even Herod was more interested in finding Jesus than the Jews were! Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, a slave named Daniel had shared the prophecies with his captors in Babylon and even then, hope rose up. That flame of hope for a Savior was kept alive within that dark, Godless land until the day the wise men finally stood before a baby in a manger born “without form or majesty” and they fell down and worshipped before the true King.
Thought for today
Here is just one snapshot of what both the Jewish scholars and the scholars from Babylon both knew about the coming Savior of the world: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder. And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to order it and to establish it with justice and with righteousness, from now until forever.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)
They read the same thing two different ways and the unsaved, godless men saw a Savior while the religious leaders of the Jews missed the Messiah and ultimately crucified Him – fulfilling prophecies they, themselves knew about! In order to truly worship the King, you must recognize Him in your life. Your gratitude is the first spark of igniting worship. Gratitude to the Lord is the point of origin for starting on a journey toward Him (Psalm 100:4) fueled by sacrifice and the destination is the presence of God. (Psalm 22:13) Worship has no point without thanksgiving (Psalm 50:23) and if your heart is fixed on blessing God, start there and don’t stop. The King has come! Smart men are still seeking. Wise men worship.