Saturday, December 1, 2012

The worship of "outsiders"

Advent Conspiracy (www.adventconspiracy.org) is at its heart a call to worship. Mary worshiped, even as she struggled to comprehend what was happening as God announced that she would be the mother of the Son of God. The shepherds worshiped and couldn’t contain the wonder of that night in Bethlehem. Another group worshiped when they discovered the birth of Jesus. In the second chapter of Matthew we are introduced to a group of men who traveled a great distance to find the king of the Jews. Mary and the shepherds were Israelites. They knew the prophesies of a messiah who was to come one day. But these men we could call “outsiders.” They were Gentiles known as magi, wise men, or scholars. Some would even call them magicians. They came out of the pagan nations of Babylon and Persia east of Israel.

They seemed to be men of some influence. Contrary to the popular thought that there were three of them, very possibly there were more. It seems they had quite the entourage as they entered Jerusalem and caused a stir in the whole city (Matthew 2:3). They didn’t seem to fear King Herod as they openly desired to worship this new king. King Herod was known to kill anyone he perceived as a threat, even his own family members. He even ordered the execution of all babies age two and under in and around Bethlehem in an attempt to eliminate this new king of the Jews.

These magi – these outsiders with some influence – were willing to pay a price to come and worship Jesus. They risked their very lives by declaring allegiance to a king other than Herod. They were willing to give their time and effort to study, to travel great distances, and to search and find Jesus. And certainly their gifts were costly. Some have suggested that these gifts could have been valued at more than one million dollars by today’s standards. Whatever the monetary value of these gifts, their greatest gift was their worship. I love the picture of Matthew 2:11 which says, “And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him.” These wealthy travelers fell before this baby and worshiped him.

This Christmas will you seek to fully worship Jesus our Messiah? Mary was poor and powerless, yet she broke out singing in worship before God. The shepherds were the undesirables of society, but they dropped what they were doing to worship Jesus. The magi weren’t even Jews; they were the Gentile pagans – outsiders – yet they sought to worship Jesus no matter the cost. The simple question to us at Christmastime is this: Will we worship King Jesus? No matter our status in life, no matter where we have been or how far away from God we may have wandered, no matter our background, will we worship Him fully?