Don’t miss the moment

Published 11:41 am Wednesday, December 26, 2018

By Roger Campbell

We’re all familiar with the Magi who came from the east (probably from Iraq), bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the One whose birth we celebrate at Christmas.  These famous travelers have become the subjects of songs, sermons and pageants every year during this season.  But few remember the other group of reputed wise men who were unwilling to make the short journey from Jerusalem to Bethlehem to honor the same royal birth.

This second group of wise men was summoned by King Herod and asked to tell him where Christ would be born.  These were religious leaders who specialized in studying the prophetic Scriptures.  Their expertise in this area prompted the king to consider them wise and take their advice on religious matters.  This assignment opened a wonderful opportunity to them but fear caused them to miss their greatest moment.

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The Magi remembered at Christmas had followed a star that guided them toward Bethlehem but when they neared Jerusalem, the historic capital city of kings, they went to the palace of Herod, supposing this would be the logical place for the king to be born.

They should have stayed with the star.  And in seeking the King, we’ll be wise to stay with Biblical truth rather than following fleeting feelings about what’s politically correct.

When Herod learned that the wise men were searching for a newborn king, he was troubled about the possibility of losing his position so called in his advisors to ask where this prophesied birth was to take place.

“In Bethlehem,” they replied, quoting the prophet Micah (Matthew 2:4-6).

One would think this news would have sent these students of the Scriptures to

Bethlehem, but instead they simply returned to their daily routines. Why did they do this?

Perhaps they feared a trip to Bethlehem searching for a king would have cost them favor with Herod, who had given them the rank of wise men.  Why chance losing political clout by chasing a dream of finding a prophesied king?  If political power was their passion, they may have later concluded they had made the right choice.  After all, this Bethlehem born king later spoke of having a kingdom that was not of this world.

They may have thought their occupations too important and their schedules too full to go chasing off to Bethlehem at this opportune time in their lives.  Hadn’t these prophecies been made long ago?  What if they weren’t true?  They must get back to carrying out their important political and religious responsibilities.

These so called wise ones may have been deterred from joining the search of the star followers by their fear of public opinion.  What would others say if they headed for Bethlehem at Micah’s word and then discovered their conclusions had been wrong?  They must guard their reputations; be careful men.  The risk in this search was too great. But in being careful they missed their greatest moment.

Meanwhile, as soon as the truly Wise Men returned to following the star they knew they were on the right road.  Only a short distance of travel brought their encounter with the King of Kings.  Seizing their moment, they worshipped and gave their gifts to Him.

What good examples they are for us during this sacred season and in the coming year!