Sometimes it’s all about asking the right question. The Gospel of Matthew records Herod’s interaction with the magi in chapter two. Verse 2 sets the stage, as these travelers ask, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
Herod’s reaction shows that he was obsessed with where he could find this person the magi were seeking. His go-to for knowledge was the Jewish scholars. Since these magi were looking for a Jewish king, it was logical to check with the Jewish authorities, and there were probably none better than the Jewish scribes They would have been well-versed in the Old Testament, Jewish literature and history.
Which leads us to an important point that Matthew really wants us to get from this story. If you want to locate Jesus, you have to have the Scriptures. We don’t know how the wise men got their information that there was this king coming. God is telling us that we don’t need to know that. It’s not important. What is important is they could only go so far without the Bible. They were, in fact, lost. That’s why they were in Jerusalem.
If you understand and apply this, it can be very encouraging. The Messiah was so close—Bethlehem was less than 6 miles away, but they couldn’t see that without the Bible. Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? A shrewd king and some brilliant Jewish and Gentile scholars met together to answer this question, but they would have been clueless if it weren’t for the Word of God.
Matthew wants us to clearly understand that the most reliable source for finding Jesus is the Bible. And God was very gracious to show them the answer. It’s a very comforting truth that the Lord will lead us to Him through the Bible. All their wisdom and political power wasn’t as important as the Word of God. They were lost without the Word and I think everybody is.
Now Herod is preoccupied with the question: “Where is this king of the Jews?” For the magi, however, what really drives them is the question: “Who is this King?” And that, ultimately, is the right question to ask. What if Herod had asked the scribes, “Who?” They might have read more from Micah 5:
“2 But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times…3 when she who is in labor bears a son…4 He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. 5 And he will be our peace.” Micah 5:2-5 (NIV)
The simple truth is that when we find Jesus Christ in the word of God, we find more and more beautiful things. Like it says in verse four above, He will stand with us. He stands beside you, closer than you know, as close as the word of God. He shepherds his flock. We are to live securely because of his greatness. There is a peace of heart and mind that comes from faith in Jesus. The prophet Micah saw nothing that could break His peace.
Herod didn’t seem to find this, but the wise men did. When we goes further to find Jesus through the Word, we will be amazed at the gifts of peace and blessings that he brings into our lives. This is why the wise men went on their way rejoicing. They found the gift of Jesus. God’s great goal is that His Son be known and worshiped.
Over and over, the Bible piques our curiosity about just how certain things happened. How did this star get the magi from the east to Jerusalem? The irony of the magi is that we could ask all sorts of marginal questions about the magi and about the star, but not ask the most important question: “Who is Jesus?” Find him in the Word. Make him the King of your heart and let his rule give you peace. Let your life be a testimony of who he is.
Have a blessed Christmas,