Tuesday, December 31, 2013
God gives them the most dramatic, supernatural sign yet. He sends a star. He is speaking their language. They knew stars well. It would not have had to be that bright to get their attention. Yet God sent them something. There is lots of speculation about what that might have been. Fun stuff.
The important thing is they responded. They packed up their stuff and crossed a dessert into Roman territory. Lots of risks. They discern a call of God and obey it. Echoes of Abram's journey in Gen 12. They go.
The Magi have been analyzed a lot considering how little mention they get in the bible. King Herod is the opposite. We like to forget him. Many Christmas pageants omit him. The almost never mention the massacre of the Holy Innocents. But Herod and the Magi shed light on each other. The Magi show faith and a willingness to embrace the kingship of Christ. Herod shows belief and a determination to resist it.
Herod does not ignore Jesus. He does not assume the Magi are just stupid. He is aware of the Messianic prophecies. He basically assumes they are legit. Think about that. He believes God predicted centuries earlier that a child would be born in Bethlehem. He believes that same God put a star in the sky and led these Magi to Judea. Yet he responds not by bowing down to this God but by fighting him. If God is really that big then what makes him think he can win such a fight? Pride. Really an irrational reaction.
Yet how often don't we play that game? How often do we look at God and His call on our lives and play it halfway? We don't dismiss God as a myth but we don't fully worship Him either. We try and manipulate Him. If we think about who God is and who we are that is pretty stupid. Yet we do it. At least I do.