As I study Matthew’s account of Christmas I am amazed by 3 things.
Firstly we must understand that Magis are people who study world religions and embrace the truths they teach. Yet they seek Jesus.
Secondly Herod has killed relatives family and any opposition to his throne. He had built a blockade at the east because he actually thought will come through the east gate of Jerusalem.
It’s incredible that the star had lead the Magi to his palace in Jerusalem. The Magi had thought he was going to born there.
They ask Herod who was terrified of this coming king “Where is he born in the king of the Jews” in his house.
Note they were Magis from the east. Coming into his house thinking he will be born in Herod’s house.
Herod then sought diligently from the scribes and Pharisees where Jesus was going to be born.
Apparently about 5 miles from his house. In Bethlehem. He was a man who made every effort to stop the scriptures from happening.
Third. If you are a Pharisee surely. Surely. Surely. When you hear of a rumour that your king the Messiah is coming you would rejoice wouldn’t you? After all the liberation of Israel is at hand. God personified has come. Israel will be restored to King David’s glory.
Except that is not the case, there was no joy. No excitement. No reaction.
So Jesus was found by a group of people who were looking for something or someone to fill their emptiness. They worshipped him. Not what they have learned but him.
Herod used what he learned to gain further mileage to his empire. He died an empty man.
The Pharisees knew the Bible, knew the place and probably because of Herod knew of the time. Yet they did not have a place for him.
They had a God who was in a temple. Though the Bible they had told them he would come like a son, a child they remain caught in a mindset of a God who wallow in bloody sacrifices.
I find this account incredible.
Jesus was found by the Magis.
Not by people who had all the knowledge of Scriptures. Not by people whom God has been speaking to for ages.
Not by people whom God had shown shadows of how he would be. Not to a race of people that has for years lamented to God for a Messiah but three pagan men. (I know it’s not 3 but they were not Israelites).
3 pagan men. They worshiped him. Herod wanted to kill him. The Pharisees were concerned about their seats and positions in the temple.
The pagan Magis worshipped him. By this time Jesus would have been 2 years old. Just old enough to stand and speak. They worship a 2 year old. They found what they had been missing. All the religion, all the philosophy and all the teaching of world cannot be compared to this 2 year old child.
Herod could not see begin his throne. The Pharisees could not see beyond their religion.
The Magis saw eternity in time, manna in this young man and light in this young life.
This is too much for me to take. What glory that he would blind those who refuse to see and be discovered by those who are empty.
Herod has a throne, the Pharisees had a religion but the Magis knew this.
All that they had is nothing compared to this little boy. Yet it was to them, the joy of discovery was given to them. They found Him.
Many years later a young Pharisee would enter this discovery. A man who had a kingly religion both a Herod who lead Jews to kill Christians just like Herod the children. A man who was a Pharisee of Pharisees.
Yet he says.
7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.
I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
That man is Paul. He had been a Herod. He had been a Pharisee.
Yet he was found.
I tell this story because we so often think Jesus only loved the Magis. It is when I read the account again I have come to know he loved Herods and Pharisees too.
The grace of God had really appeared to all men.
So if you are a Magi, a Herod or a religious self righteous man, I have news for you.
Jesus loves you.