Advent Devotional: Week Two - Wednesday
Scripture Reading: Matthew 2:1-12 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”
After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.
And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
The heavens were deeply attuned to the coming of the Savior. The star signified that creation had a part to play in displaying God’s good news to the people of the whole world. God even allowed pagan astrologers from the east to recognize the message of the star: that a king would be born in Judea. Yet even the wise men were surprised to find that the king was not in Jerusalem! God needed to speak his word to them directly for them to find the humble location of Jesus’ birth. When they arrived at the house, they presented gifts t for a king (Isa 60:5-7): gold, frankincense, and myrrh. After paying homage to this newborn king, they traveled back to their homes.
This story is about outsiders being invited to participate as insiders in the birth of Jesus. God uses the star to communicate the story of Jesus to those who are outside the covenant family of Israel and his written word. He doesn’t just bring them as far as Jerusalem and then leave them hanging. He leads them into the very presence of Christ, where they can bring their gifts of tithe and worship. This is an amazing picture of all the nations bringing their gifts before the Lamb of God and a wonderful anticipation of the day when all the nations will worship Jesus as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It also models and inspires us as we think about bringing our talents, gifts, and worship to Jesus during this season of Advent. Spend some time talking about what God has given you and how you can use those things to worship him.
Prayer: Eternal King, when we look out upon your creation we marvel at your wondrous works and rejoice at their beauty. We are amazed at the ways your creation points us to you. We realize though Lord that we marvel in light of how you have revealed yourself in the Bible. May we seek in this season to know the depths and wonders of your “good news” ever more deeply so that we can share in the praises of all the nations.
Advent Singing: We Three Kings
We three kings of Orient are; bearing gifts we traverse afar, field and fountain, moor and mountain, following yonder star.
Refrain: O star of wonder, star of light, star with royal beauty bright, westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light.
Born a King on Bethlehem's plain, gold I bring to crown him again, King forever, ceasing never, over us all to reign. [Refrain]
Frankincense to offer have I; incense owns a Deity nigh; prayer and praising, voices raising, worshiping God on high. [Refrain]
Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume breathes a life of gathering gloom; sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying, sealed in the stone-cold tomb. [Refrain]
Glorious now behold him arise; King and God and sacrifice: Alleluia, Alleluia, sounds through the earth and skies. [Refrain]