Matthew 2
When Jesus Was Born

To have lived at that time under Roman rule was a very offensive thing to the Jews. There were at least three, maybe four, districts under the leadership of local leaders, who were under the leadership of Herod, who in turn was under the authority of Rome. This national servitude had the Jews discontented and wanting Messiah to come and break the bondage. Into this nation, and at this time, the Lord Jesus Christ was born. “In the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son…” In a similar way, today we find the powers of darkness and the anti-Christian movement is expanding all over the world. Atheism is taught as a doctrine to probably one third of the students of the world as the answer to the fundamental questions of life. So now existentialism and the “Up with man” mindset has spread rapidly. There are many, if not most, that teach our children that in the public schools in this country. The teaching of evolution and the mindset that is linked with that, begins early in the school years.

Into that national setting Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Of great interest to me was the fact that in a distant country or countries, God provided a witness to this event. Those who saw that witness in the sky knew what it meant. As the wise men who had studied the scriptures gathered together to journey to seek the Lord Jesus, God arranged that the star would move before them as a personal guide. The scriptures would tell them who they were seeking. The search would be rewarded when they sought Him with all their heart. And the sight of the Savior would be the reward of their faith. The same principles hold true now. For those who seek the Lord will find him – “When you seek for me with all your heart.” God is not wanting to be at a distance from people so He has sent the Holy Spirit and the scriptures to guide us to His Son and to give us life through His name. The Father is still seeking those who will “Worship Him in spirit and in truth.” We still worship today the One who was “Found in fashion as a man.”

The gifts those men of wisdom brought were significant, not only because of their worth, but also because of their meaning. The gold they brought would remind us of the worth of the Savior who was born in Bethlehem. He was and always will be the Eternal Son of the Eternal God. There was nothing that was diminished about Him when He took upon Himself human flesh. Finally from among the sons of men, there came a perfect man who could not, nor did not sin because there was no sin in His nature. So the gold gave testimony to His worth. The sweet smell of frankincense that was opened there before the Lord Jesus, would have filled the room with its fragrance. Perhaps more than one would have wondered at the meaning of that gift. The fragrance of the walk of the Lord Jesus accompanied Him from His birth to His ascension back to heaven. He was here among sinful men – but He was “full of grace and truth.” The beautiful scent of His worth, His walk and His words still are appreciated today by those who seek Him and find Him. We remember Him when we review the acts of His mercy and kindness He showed to mankind. The gracious words that came from His lips and the gracious works that He did, all testify to the fragrance of His life.

When the gift of myrrh was opened it would have been plain to those who saw it that the painstaking effort to get that salve from the trees would have great value. The painful rejection of His own nation and people; the fact that people accepted His blessing but rejected His teaching; the bitterness of the suffering for sin He would have to endure; and the myrrh that would be put on His body after He died was all indicative of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. “He came unto His own, but His own received Him not.” What a bitter taste it is when people are presented with the blessings of God’s grace, and they reject it for the sin-polluted efforts of their own to try to make themselves accepted by God.

God didn’t leave Joseph without the responsibility of fatherhood, even though he was not the physical father of the virgin-born, Jesus. This just man was one to whom God could speak in dreams and who paid attention to what God said. God gave him the assurance and guidance when it involved Mary, through a dream. Again God spoke in a dream and he obeyed the warning to flee into Egypt. Later he was instructed by God in a dream to return to Israel. When he got there he was warned again in a dream to go to Nazareth. God has ways of speaking to us and He has reasons to warn us as well. Warnings from God always need to be attended to. He knows the end from the beginning of every event. We do not. So in whatever ways God gives us warnings, we are wise when we pay heed to Him.

As the years passed, the waiting time may have been difficult whether in Egypt or any place we may have to wait until a present danger is past. It seems to me that when we have to wait, we are wasting time. But the waiting times of our lives may well be more important than the working time. The working times may seem important because we are involved and can think we have some credit in the results. When we have to wait, then in faith, we are trusting God alone to do what needs to be done. If He can trust us to be involved in what He is doing, that is a great privilege as well as a responsibility. When Jesus was born there were those who waited – Simeon, Anna and others in Jerusalem. When the Lord was finally here, they had great joy. Now we are waiting again for Him to come. We talk about it, sing about His coming and seek to fill the time of waiting with useful work for God’s glory. At the same time we warn people of the consequences of sin, of rejecting the Savior, and of not seeking the Savior while there is the opportunity of being saved by God’s grace.

We don’t know just what time it will be when Jesus will come again.
Nor is it really any business of ours when God wants the day of grace to end.
But it really is important that we be watching and ready for it may happen today.
That keeps us active with a purpose in life, rather than frittering our life away.

When Jesus was born there was a number of people expecting Him to come.
Others had a vague general opinion that God still was not done
With the nation nor His people wherever they were found –
And so when the star was seen in the sky. they looked for hallowed ground.

Those that seek the Lord will find God is seeking them.
He knows who is looking for the Lord Jesus today, the same as He did back then.
God has His own ways of drawing honest seekers that to us are not known.
Those who seek Him with their heart, will make the Savior their own.

Surely there must be some people even now who are searching the scriptures to find
If there are some answers of peace for them, if there can be relief of mind
To settle the longing they have within to know they are right with God.
Those are the ones we are sent to seek out and point to the Savior through His Word.

I am thankful for every time we get answers to our prayers.
And we find out that to some others, we are God’s answers to theirs.
Simeon, Anna and those other people who were people of great faith –
Would have found great joy as God answered and they saw the Savior’s face.

There may be things we can bring that to God are of great worth.
The gold, frankincense and myrrh when given at Jesus birth –
Were evidence of something that was of far greater and lasting value.
Love for God and faith in Him were why those wise men traveled.

Out of love for the One we wait for, we will watch and we will wait,
Until the Lord Himself shall come and from this world will take
Those who know and love Him, to be with Him where it is.
That will be the greatest joy to us, for He is our joy and bliss.

“When Thou didst send Thy Son, Father, there didn’t seem to be too many who were glad to see Him. Perhaps it is the same today here where I live. But I know this – I will be so glad to see Him, and to see Him honored among His own people – and ultimately by the whole world. I praise Thee, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.”

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