Wise men still seek him

Wise men still seek him

When I was aged about 7 or 8, I used to love performing magic tricks on my friends and family. I remember one birthday or Christmas receiving a magic set, with which I practiced, before setting up my own magic show in the living room to perform to my parents. Even today, when I get a deck of cards in my hands, I still love fooling my kids with a couple of tricks I can remember.

Today is Epiphany, the day upon which we remember the visit of the Magi to Jesus. The Magi were people, as you might surmise, who were known to practice magic. Alongside this, they also practiced astrology, studying of ancient texts, dream interpretation, and the pursuit of wisdom. Matthew’s gospel records that a number of these magi made the trip to Bethlehem to greet the young boy, Jesus, and offer him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:1-12).

Matthew records that these men came “from the east,” (Matthew 2:1) which could well mean that they came from the city of Babylon, in modern-day Iraq, over 800 miles from Bethlehem. They travelled all that way, perhaps on camels, in order to seek this newborn King of the Jews, whom they had seen foretold in the stars. Such a long journey, perhaps as much as 40 days each way, demonstrates the strength of desire with which they sought an encounter with Jesus.

Several years ago, I saw a Christmas card with a picture of the magi, and the star, and the caption, “Wise Men Still Seek Him.” I wonder, as we begin this new year, how might you seek an encounter with the Lord Jesus? The wise men were willing to travel a great distance, but, thankfully, we do not need to travel a great distance, because the promise of Jesus is that he would give us his Spirit (Acts 1:8), to be with us always (Matthew 28:20).

Nevertheless, our lives are full of distractions that separate us from the presence of Jesus, seeking to pull us away from seeking him. To seek Jesus still requires intentionality, and discipline, even if it doesn’t require traveling hundreds of miles.

Perhaps you might start off this year by committing to certain personal spiritual practices that will enable you to seek Jesus, such as Scripture reading, prayer, journaling, and Sabbath (if you need some ideas, check out this video series from our YouTube page).

Or perhaps you might start of this year by committing to the corporate spiritual practice of worshipping together (we are back to our regular service times of 9:00 and 10:30 am tomorrow).

In whatever way you seek Jesus, know that he promises to reveal himself to those who seek him with their whole heart (Jeremiah 29:13). So may you be wholehearted in your pursuit of Jesus in 2024, and may he be faithful to his promise to reveal himself to you.

Pastor Ellis