Day 2 – “They came from the East…”
Today we will see in the lives of the Magi the importance of stepping out in faith…even when you feel like you are alone…even when what God is asking you to do doesn’t make perfect sense…even when God’s plan for your day isn’t comfortable. The amazing thing the Lord does here is that He also provides others to walk this difficult journey with each wise man. Not one had to journey alone. They had separate callings, but often the Lord will give us friends and other people to step out in faith with during different seasons of our lives just like He did for the wise men.
Matthew’s book in the Bible gives the fullest story of the Magi in the Bible–and from Matthew we are only told they are from the east.
Matthew 2:1-2 “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 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.”
Matthew tells us in his book the Magi came from the east. He just says Magi–and we assume there were 3 as we learn later that they brought three gifts to present to Jesus. Tradition, however, has also passed down and it has been historically documented that there were, indeed, three; it is also documented in historical writing that they were from the families of Shem, Ham and Japhet–some speculate that one was from Africa (northern Ethiopia)–and scholars have speculated that they came from Persia, Arabia, or even India). Their names are given as Casper, Balthasar and Melchoir in historical writings.
During this time, Magi were very important leaders in the government. For these leaders to leave their city and place in the government would have been quite a big deal! They risked losing their place in the government power–everything they had worked a lifetime to achieve–all for the sake of obeying God and going to worship His Son. To tell those who were under them, in their care and who followed them and trusted in their leadership that they were leaving to follow a STAR to see the Son of God–would have not only raised eyebrows but might have also risked their reputation being the wise men that so many saw them to be. Many probably thought they were crazy!
Magi were not only powerfully politically, but they also had priestly duties and were seen as holy. Many may have not agreed with their leaving their duties and families to follow God in this way–but we know the Magi went. They obeyed God, and they took a risk not worrying about what others thought of them in order to obey and do what God was asking them to do.
Their journey was not a short one either–but most likely OVER 900 miles by camel. (Our family lives in Atlanta, Georgia–so this would be like us traveling on camel and by foot all the way to San Antonio, Texas! Take a minute to go to this website: http://www.distancebetweencities.net/ and finding a city 900 miles from where you live. Now you can better understand why it probably took the Magi 1-2 years to finally reach baby Jesus to worship Him!)
Not an easy journey to begin with…and if scholars are correct that they were EACH from different countries. You can imagine each of their journeys had to begin separately–and then they came together. This was during a time of NO telephone, email or letter writing–so God spoke to each of the Magi separately, and each of the Magi had to step out in faith regardless if they thought they would be alone on the entire journey. But one day they came together as they got closer to Bethlehem following the star that would take them to the Light of the World–Jesus Christ.
Many times our journeys, the most difficult ones the Lord asks us to take will be like the wisemen, and we feel like we begin it all alone. However, God is always with us–willing to lead and guide us as we look to Him and follow Him step by step.
Many times, the Lord will also provide others to journey with us—who kind of meet us half way yet they become just a big part of our journeys. Together we encourage one another and cheer one another on—pick one another up when one falls and rejoice as we get closer to the finish line that the Lord has called us to.
The Lord always guides, and He always provides. And with Herod ahead at their next stop in Jerusalem…they would need one another for what was ahead. Can you think of a time when you and a friend were on the same journey–where you both felt like God was calling you to do the SAME thing? Has there been a time when you felt like God was asking you to do something and you were afraid to step out an do it all by yourself? There will be times in your life when you feel like you are alone in your journey–but you can pray that God will provide a friend to walk beside you and you can encourage one another and point one another to Jesus along the way!
Thank you God how you always provide for us on our journeys. Thank you that you are always with us–and that in your great grace you also provide others to journey with us. Help us to step out in faith and follow you before we see others doing the same–and to trust that you will provide others to encourage us along the way when we need it most.
Remember to share a way you saw Jesus today–and add it to your family’s treasure box!