This week we continue our season of Advent, which is the Christian season of preparation for Christmas. Our theme this year is “Jesus Is the Answer.” This week we focus on joy and take our Scripture from Matthew 2:1-12:
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem,
2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him;
4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared.
8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”
9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.
11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
A caravan of mystery is connected with these wise men called Magi. Who were they? Where did they come from? How did they know the meaning of the star that shown brightly in the sky announcing Jesus’ birth? There are good theories, but nobody knows for sure. How many Magi came? We’re told they brought three types of gifts—gold, frankincense, and myrrh—but we’re not told how many wise men made the likely 500-mile journey to Bethlehem.
But, while there is much mystery surrounding these men, one thing is for sure—the birth of Jesus brought them great joy. When God put the signal in the stars that the prophesied King of the Jews had been born, they came from far off searching for Jesus and seeking to worship Him. And when they finally found Him, Scripture says, “they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.”
And so we think on joy this week because Jesus Christ is the answer to our search for joy on this broken planet. While sorrow, pain, and disappointment abound in this fallen age, regardless of the circumstances we can have full and unwavering joy in Jesus, who is the giver of joy. We pray that the joy that was given to the world through Jesus will be increasingly felt throughout the earth as people everywhere turn from sin and trust in Jesus. And, we long for the everlasting joy Jesus will bring with Him when He comes again. Therefore, we say to the Lord, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus!”