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The Faith of the Magi

December 24, 2007
by

I read the story of the Magi from Matthew 2 this morning. Something that struck me as I was reading it was the fact that these men from the East were among the first to recognize Jesus as king on this earth. They were likely Gentiles, which meant they were outside of God’s chosen people at the time. However, they came from a far distance to worship the King of Kings.

What faith this must have required! They go to Herod, the king over Judea at the time, probably expecting to find the newborn king in his court. It must have been disheartening for them to realize that Herod knew nothing about this king, but their faith was not shaken. They followed the star to Bethlehem after that, and were again confronted with doubt: here was a child born to a peasant family. There was no hope for this boy to ever become a politically important figure. There was no such thing as upward mobility in those days – if you were born poor, you stayed poor. Many would have given up at this point, thinking they must have come to the wrong place to find a king.

However, the Magi visited this peasant child, and worshiped him. What an amazing sight this would have been – rich rulers from the East worshiping a poor child. The Magi understood something that many today do not about Jesus: that despite his humble station in life, and despite the humiliating death he would later suffer, he is worthy of our worship. In reality, that humiliating death is the reason we should worship Christ above all else, for it is by his death that we are forgiven and reconciled to God. Let us have faith like the Magi this Christmas and beyond, and be people who worship God no matter how humiliating it appears to those around us.

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