“Now after Jesus was born…wise men…came…saying, ‘Where is He…?’” (Matt. 2:1-2a)
After Christmas, they came earnestly seeking to worship and adore Christ. They came to seek Jesus after He had graciously and powerfully, yet silently came into this world. They came as we ought to come in hopeful humility, through the Scriptures, seeking the wisdom of God from Him. In Christ are found all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:3). They knew that, do we know that today? Do we say with the wise men, “Where is He?” Let us learn from the wise men in this new year of 2016! May the truths of Christmas make a tremendous impact upon us by His Spirit, that we seek Christ as never before as His people.
In Matthew 2, there are three types of people revealed: 1. Those who are troubled by Scripture; these are challenged by it, and fear that the truth is true (Herod, v. 3). 2. Those who have a great knowledge of Scripture, but are not changed by it; it is knowledge merely of the head, but does not move the heart and affections to love and obedience (Scribes, v. 4-5). 3. Those who have faith seeking understanding (the Wise Men, v. 6, 10-11). Though the wise men are led to a certain degree through general revelation, God grants them a supernatural star to follow, but ultimately they need the Scriptures to take them fully to Jesus Christ. The wise men believe and follow the degree of revelation they are given, but the knowledge urges them to seek God in Christ for complete knowledge and wisdom. This is a knowledge that leads to exceedingly great joy (v. 10b).
J. C. Ryle wrote: “The Holy Spirit can lead souls to Christ without the help of many outward means. Men may be born in dark places of the earth, like these wise men, and yet like them be made ‘wise unto salvation’….How often the very people who live nearest to the means of grace (like Herod’s scribes) are those who neglect them the most…familiarity with sacred things has a dreadful tendency to make men despise them.”
The wise men set their heart on seeing God’s king. Do you set your heart on this? Is this what makes you joyful? Are you diligent in seeking Him? Will you leave your comforts in order to find Him? The wise men agreed in heart with the Psalmist: “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you” (Psa. 73:25). The whole quest of the magi is a metaphor for the Christian life. Seek Him personally with your whole heart: seek Him with your family; seek Him corporately through the signs of the means of grace as the church on pilgrimage. This passage reminds us that the knowledge and the signs in themselves are not effectual, unless they be spiritually empowered and received by faith in Christ alone.
True faith seeks God through Scripture; true faith seeks knowledge to find and know God in Christ as He has been pleased to reveal Himself. True faith is not threatened by His presence, not does true faith ignore His presence, but it seeks to embrace Him, or rather to be embraced by Him!
In Matthew 2, our God reveals Himself as the God to be known relationally for all sinners in Jesus Christ. God calls all nations, even those in dark lands, to come and see the glory of His salvation, and to embrace the promises He has given through Israel. “And nations shall come to your light…the wealth of nations shall come to you…” (Isa. 60:1-5; cf. Psalm 72). Through Abraham’s Son all the nations shall be blessed through faith (Gen. 12:1-3)! We can be reminded in this new year that God always keeps His promises to His people.
We learn from the Magi’s example that the pursuit of knowledge should ultimately be to find the only true and saving knowledge and wisdom that can truly satisfy that is found in God’s king. All other knowledge apart from Jesus under the sun is “vanity” (Ecc. 1:8-14; 12:12-14). Go, in the power of the Spirit of God, in this new year with boldness and recommitted purpose to seek and know Him, and to worship and adore Him! “Get wisdom” and become truly wise (Prov. 4:7).
In Christ’s love,