Bishop Blake: Wise Men Seek Jesus
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “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.”
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. Matthew 2:1-3, 9-12 (NIV)
The coming of Jesus to the earth was an event of spectacular significance. We don’t know how many wise men made the journey to visit Jesus at His birth. Tradition has it that there were 3, but one ancient scholar tells us that there may have been as many as 14 in the entourage. The bible does not tell us a number; neither does it say that they were Kings. In fact, it’s probable that they were not Kings at all. Were they ruling Kings, protocol would have required King Herod to go along with them on their journey through his land.
No, these men were philosophers and scholars and priests; probably from Persia, and probably men of wealth and men of power. But, we know that they were wise men, because the Bible says they were.
The shepherds spread the news everywhere of the arrival of the Christ Child…but it seemed that Bethlehem and Jerusalem hardly took notice of their announcement. Their chief priests and the scribes continued as if nothing had happened.
What a striking contrast between the wise men and the shepherds, and the citizens of Bethlehem and Jerusalem!
- The wise men and the shepherds represent the human spirit. It’s the spirit that should rule over the flesh. It is the spirit that responds to God and reaches out for God.
- The baby Jesus represents the Godhead; He represents the Father, the Son, and the Holy GhostIt’s the spirit that should lead the soul into union with almighty God.
- King Herod represents the flesh. The flesh reaches out for whatever it can get: fun, happiness, joy, fulfillment, pleasure, money, wealth, excitement. When the flesh gets troubled, the soul gets troubles also.
The key to all of this is that the spirit of man has got to go to the spirit of God. When the wise men went to Jesus, they broke free from Herod. They broke free from the control of the flesh; they went back home transformed.
WHY WE CELEBRATE JESUS
When Jesus was first introduced to the earth, He found the universe unreceptive. This is why we must celebrate Christmas every year; because mankind’s first reception of Jesus was so poor. I know you’re involved in many pursuits. But every year at this time, we must practice opening up our hearts and our lives, because Jesus is the reason for the season.
If you want to live, then you’d better listen to the spirit. Spiritual folk, reach out for God. He who the spirit sets free, is free indeed.
Adapted from the sermon, “Wise Men Still Seek Jesus”, by Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., at West Angeles COGIC.
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