“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem...there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem saying, ‘Where is he that is born king of the Jews?’ for we have seen his star in the east and come to worship him.”
This is a Christmas story in that it is related to the birth of Christ, but it is not as closely connected to the birth as some celebrations make it out to be. Nevertheless, the message is clear, wise men seek out and worship Christ. That assertion of the gospel has not changed since the birth of the Christ Child.
The journey of the magi to Bethlehem was not a simple road trip. It took preparation, determination, braving danger, and quite a bit of time. The journey probably took a couple of years. It would not be out of the question for them to bring their entire household along. They had to eat, plus feed and maintain their animals, put up and take down shelters, deal with unfriendly folks, and maybe even bandits along the way. The only bright spot, literally, was the star. They only had to stop and ask for directions one time. Men hate that, but they did it.
Did they ever think of turning back? Did they ever just say, “This is too much trouble, the hell with it, let’s go home?” If they are like most people, I have to believe it crossed their minds more than once along the way. What kept them going?
I think it was the same thing that kept Moses going during his exile in the desert..." respect for the recompense of the reward.” That is, the worth of the object to be gained by continuing exceeded the work required to obtain it. The scriptures say this same attitude kept Christ moving toward the cross. The end justified the hardships of the journey.
A wise person knows the strength of character, singleness of purpose, and personal insight to be gained in a relationship with Christ are worth whatever must be done to obtain them. The wise see the life of Christ and know imitating that life will lift the heart and satisfy the soul.
When the magi finally made it into the humble home where they found Christ, they fell down and worshiped him. With godly wisdom comes humility. The wise bow to Christ because, being ushered into his awesome presence, nothing else seems fitting.
“And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart.”