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.”
Depending upon which scholar or theologian you read, the Wise Men found in the Christmas Story were from varying degrees of distance from Jerusalem, maybe a few hundred miles, maybe a few thousand. Maybe they only traveled by night so they could follow the ‘star’ and find their way to the birthplace of The Christ. Depending upon how far they traveled and how long they travelled each day, their journey may have taken a few weeks to several months.
Have you ever stopped to wonder what that journey was like?
Certainly, it was not physically easy. There were not Motel 6 or Holiday Inns along the way; there was no Chick-fil-A or Whataburger to stop at for dinner. The journey would have been much more difficult than a road trip of today.
Certainly, it was not emotionally or spiritually easy. These Wise Men likely would have read some -if not all - of the Old Testament writings of the Prophets – certainly Daniel who was likely part of their order some 600 years prior. These prophetic writings were thought to be pointed to this time and this place, but were they? These Wise Men likely would have studied the stars, looking, and trying to divine the appointed place and the appointed time. They saw the star and followed it, but was their interpretation, right? These Wise Men would have likely used science, their understanding, and all the evidence they could weigh to begin and continue this journey … but did they have it right?
While we do not know any of this for certain, I think it would be shortsighted on our part to think that these Wise Men traveled for even a few days or weeks always confidently onward, without a sliver of doubt.
Instead I think we should consider that each day of their journey was met with doubt, questions, and uncertainty. When danger was present, conditions harsh, or they were worn out from their journey, I think it is safe to think that their uncertainty only grew.
Until that moment recorded for us in Matthew 2:9-11 …
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.
I imagine in that moment they rejoiced and worshipped because what they had believed in for so long, what they had travelled so far to see was in front of them - in the flesh. They worshipped because that which they had sought – their hope – was there in front of them. The ‘King of the Jews’, the Christ, The King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords; this miraculous child that had been prophesied for thousands of years was in fact right before their very own eyes.
The journey of the Wise Men is not so different from the journey of our lives. Searching for purpose and truth, found in the person of Christ, and then a journey to meet Him and to be face to face with Him. A journey that is not easy – instead it is hard, filled with questions and doubt – but ultimately ending in you and I rejoicing exceedingly with great joy, falling down, and worshipping our Savior.