Saturday, January 02, 2021

The Vision (1.2.21): The Star, Wise Men, and Worship


Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on Matthew 2:1-12.

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him (Matthew 2:11a).

Matthew and Luke are the two Gospels that provide for us a detailed account of the birth of the Lord Jesus in Bethlehem.

Only Matthew provides the account of the “wise men” [Greek magoi] from the east who follow a providential star to seek out the newborn Messiah.

You may have heard reports that on December 21, 2020 there was an event known as the “Great Conjunction” in which the planets of Jupiter and Saturn lined up from the vantage point of earth to create an appearance “as one bright shining star” (as the website put it). The astronomers tell us that this alignment had not occurred in the same way for about 800 years, since the last great conjunction on March 4, 1226.

Some have referred to this as the “Christmas Star.” The seventeenth century astronomer Johannes Kepler apparently suggested that a similar alignment took place in 7 BC, around the time of the birth of Christ. That theory may or may not be true. Matthew makes mention of a star which guided the wise men from the east to the new-born Christ, but there is nothing to indicate that it was or was not the result of a “Great Conjunction.” As we noted with respect to the virgin birth of Christ, once we posit a God who can create the world in the space of six days and all very good, then there is little anxiety about his power to do in that creation as he pleases to fulfill his purposes.

If there is one main theme that permeates Matthew 2, it might be worship. The wise men are seeking the Messiah to worship him: “for we have seen his star in the east and have come to worship him” (v. 2).

Herod falsely claims that he desires to worship Christ: “bring word again, that I may worship him” (v. 8).

While the wise men have their quest fulfilled as they are led to Christ and worship him: “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him” (v. 11a).

One might see a model of three types of “worshippers” in these three references to worship:

There are those who have a hunger to seek to worship the one they do not yet fully understand or comprehend.

There are those who duplicitously feign interest in Christ, even though their hearts are, in truth, hard toward him, and they prefer to do away with him.

Finally, there are those who reach their goal when they discover Christ by the help of special revelation. They rejoice with great joy. They fall down before him and offer him the very best of all that they have, even themselves.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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