Church Culture

Magi from the East

Sometimes "heathens" know more about God than "Christians". 

I love everything about Christmas- the lights and decorations, the music and ridiculous amounts of food, and of course the presents. I carefully choose and coordinate my wrapping paper every year because yes, it is that serious. I know it’s January but as far as I’m concerned, it’s still Christmas. The Magi didn’t visit Jesus until he was one- He might have been closer to two- so certainly I can continue celebrating into the new year.

We’re all familiar with the story of the Nativity- Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, angels and shepherds, three kings and a star. The problem is, I think we’ve gotten so used to hearing it, we overlook some interesting parts. This Christmas, I decided to do some digging into the “three kings”.

First of all, they weren’t kings and there were most likely way more than three of them. The story of the Magi is only recorded in the book of Matthew. No other gospel even mentions them.

Y’all know the basics. The Magi arrive in Jerusalem, tell King Herod about the star they saw, and ask where to find the King of the Jews. And you know what? Herod and the entire city of Jerusalem are shook (Matthew 2:3).

And that’s exactly where I want to stop. Never mind the rest of the plot twisting story, why was everybody so freaked out?

It makes sense that Herod was disturbed. He was supposed to be King of the Jews- the Romans had appointed him so. Herod had a history of killing anyone who threatened his power- including his wife and sons. So he was power tripping, as usual.

But all the Jews in Jerusalem were shook too! That doesn’t make sense. This wasn’t the first time they’d heard about Jesus’ birth. The shepherds had already told everyone who would listen about their visit from the angels and their trip to the manger, so nobody should’ve been surprised. In fact, they should’ve been celebrating the birth of the long awaited Messiah. But they were upset. Kinda reminds me of the saints who think we shouldn’t celebrate anything. Ever.

Anyway, back to the Magi. They eventually left Jerusalem, and the star they had seen from the east, went ahead of them and led them right to Jesus.

Did you catch it or did you miss it?

Through their study of the stars, astrologers learned that the Messiah had been born. Then, a star brought them to Him.

There is a huge lesson in that. Just because someone looks, acts, or thinks differently from us, doesn’t mean they don’t know God for themselves. We have to stop assuming and labeling people who aren’t “traditional” Christians as weird, ignorant, or heathens. Sometimes those same “heathens” know more about God than we do.

Whoops.

The presence of the Magi caused the Jews to be just as upset and disturbed as the pagan king. Imagine that.

Are we threatened when people not of our denomination or faith know and understand more than we think they do? Does it provoke embarrassment, resentment, or anger? Perhaps all three?

In some of the circles I travel in, there are people who believe we should only read the King James Version of the Bible. The other day, I stumbled on a Facebook post about it and someone explained why that is an absurd position. The author of the post didn’t even acknowledge the comment or the facts. He simply carried on with his conspiracy theories.

Many Christians claim they want to learn and grow but often they really don’t. They’re just interested in promoting their own agenda and proving a point. These saints only want to hear things that affirm what they already believe. When you try to teach them, they become angry.

I’ve learned that we just have to leave them alone. They’re the ones who would’ve sent the Magi YouTube videos about the dangers of astrology. Meanwhile, God gave them a star that led them straight to Jesus.

Speaking of the star, do you know what kind of commitment and faith the Magi had to follow a star? Whew, sometimes I don’t even trust my GPS. The Magi were also willing to be vulnerable. They left their homes, traveled to a new country, took their Gentile selves to Jerusalem, and asked for the Jewish king. They were brave as hell.

Once the Magi arrived, Herod asked the priests about Jesus’ birth. It amazes me that the Jewish scholars had the “right” answers but were still clueless and ultimately rejected Jesus. Sometimes the people in (and even leading) the church know the least about God.

Alright, let me wrap this up before I get reported to the compliance committee.

Herod sent the Magi to Bethlehem and instructed them to do a careful search for Jesus. They didn’t have to look very hard though. You see, when people are truly seeking, God will lead them right to Himself. He might use ways that are unfamiliar and foreign to us but last time I checked, God doesn’t have to ask our permission to do anything.

The Magi teach us about the importance of determination, faith, and being aware. They teach us to be open to learning from others- even those who find God in unconventional ways. I can just hear the saints grumbling, “Those heathens. What do they know?”

Well…apparently, a lot.

 

Note: I know it’s been awhile and I’ll just be honest. Ya girl was tired. I took some time to recharge during the holidays, and I’m back with lots to share in 2019, stay tuned!

Happy New Year!

 

 

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