Genesis 4-6 Matthew 2 (New Century Version)
“Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea during the time when Herod was king. When Jesus was born, some wise men from the east came to Jerusalem. They asked, ‘Where is the baby who was born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.’” (Matthew 2:1-2 NCV)
The story of the wise men, or magi, is one of the most inspiring parts of the story of Jesus, and one of the most tragic. In a move that has led many people to believe that at least one of the magi was a woman, they stopped in Jerusalem to ask directions because they sought to worship the baby who was born to be king of the Jews. That was troubling news to Herod, and thus troubling to the people of Jerusalem since Herod was apparently the role model for future dictators like Kim Jong-un. After a discussion with amazingly incurious scholars, Herod directed the magi to Bethlehem after extracting a promise from them to return and give information so he to could worship. These wise men, probably part of a remnant group from Babylon who may have been inspired in part by Daniel, found Jesus in a house, worshiped, left gifts, and then left to go back home in a different direction. Herod, furious that he had been tricked by the magi, ordered the execution of all children in the Bethlehem area two years old and under – based on the time the magi first saw the star.
The magi made a natural assumption as they went to visit the baby king: they thought he’d be born in the king’s palace. When they arrived and didn’t see the baby king, they asked a natural question: where is he? The chain of events this question started ended up with all the babies two years and under being slaughtered by Herod’s command. It would be easy, if the magi had heard that part of the story, for the magi to blame themselves for the deaths of those children. When we act in faith, we face unintended consequences. We can beat ourselves up over those consequences, or we can continue in faith.
Lord, give me the grace to live each day by faith. Remind me of Your presence no matter what the consequences may be, and that life is always better when lived by faith.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved