Chasing, Challenges, Corrections and Completion

Some time ago I was reading Matthew 2, which is the story of the Magi. As I read through it I was expecting to hear about them being told about the sign that would appear showing them the savior was born or that they would be told to take gifts as we know the story plays out, but it wasn't written that way in Matthew at all and as I read it I had seen it in whole new way.

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.”
I saw that it started with them just having seen the star and having already traveled to Bethlehem and asking where the newborn king was. That got me wondering where I had heard the backstory that knew so I went to check a 365 chronological bible I have that aligns and interweaves the gospels together from the multiple authors thinking it may have been from a different telling of the story, but it didn't, it was just as I had found in my NIV translation. So then that got my interest going even further about how I even knew the story and I found myself in a rabbit hole of search terms that lead me to wonder who the Magi even were and why they would follow the star to begin with. What I had discovered was that they were most likely counselors of some kind to a king in the east, and not just counselors, but astrologers. It was then that it hit me that the appearance of this new star was significant enough to them that it had their interest and led them to chase what caused its appearance.

Isn't that how God tends to work in our lives. Somewhere along the way something, or someone appears in our life that gets our attention that we begin to see what this Christianity thing is about. Who this Jesus guy really is and is it truly authentic? But as some of us already know and some may find out along the way, his breakthrough to us isn't a ton of bricks, is a trickle of love. Otherwise this story would have been that they saw the star, came to Bethlehem and left the gifts and returned to their land. Instead it appears that as they neared their destination they lost focus on thing that piqued their interest and tried to get to the end on their own. In doing this Herod had heard of them going through and asking about a new king and sent for them., 

"Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared."

Though it wouldn't be until verse 16 that we find out it was about two years when Herod orders all the boys two years old and younger to be killed. I began to think how tired I get making the four hour drive from Houston to Dallas by car and couldn't imagine the dedication they had to discover the meaning of this star in a two year trek by foot and camel or horseback through deserts, forests and mountains. Not just the fatigue, but did they bring enough supplies to last? Would they find sources of shelter, water, food if they hadn't? What if there were bandits along the way? But they saw it through. Can we find enough dedication to the pursuit of God and have faith in our journey to see ourselves through what God had planned for us from the beginning of creation?

It's not to say that we won't make mistakes along the way, I mean in this story we see that from that meeting with Herod, they seemingly stepped in and put Jesus' life in jeopardy. Had they not been asking around then Herod wouldn't have heard and sent his orders out, right? Herod also could have also killed them had he succeeded since their own king probably wouldn't have expected them to return after that long a trip. But we see  that after the meeting the sign they were following seemed to appear again,

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. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed

Not only that, he sends them a dream to leave a different route so they could return home safely. At the same time God sent them the dream, He had also sent an angel to Joseph by dream to flee to Egypt protecting Jesus from Herod's order. They would remain there until Herod would die when Joseph would be sent another dream to return to Israel, this time ending up in Nazareth.

Cause that's what He does, right?  When we make a mistake and lose sight of the signs to follow like the Magi, He steps in and says, "No son, that's not the path, follow me this way and we'll get you set right again?" His plans will get us focused back on the course He has for our lives. At the same time, sometimes His plans are to let things play out, like it says at the end of Matthew 2,

So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.

It's easy to look back at this story and see it plays out just as it should have, but when we find ourselves in a process and don't have the luxury of hindsight to see it will be fine, can we find and sustain the faith needed to see it through. Can we trust that God has a prophecy about each and everyone one of us? Can we trust that just as He sent the Magi to start the chain of events that had baby Jesus in Egypt and return through Nazareth, that He is also continually guiding us through our own prophecy until it is also completed.


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