Christmas Day, 25/12/12
S: Matthew 2:1-12 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, in the time of King Herod, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem saying, “Where is the one who is born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was alarmed, and all Jerusalem with him. After assembling all the chief priests and experts in the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they said, “for it is written this way by the prophet:
‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are in no way least among the rulers of Judah,
for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then Herod privately summoned the wise men and determined from them when the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and look carefully for the child. When you find him, inform me so that I can go and worship him as well.” After listening to the king they left, and once again the star they saw when it rose led them until it stopped above the place where the child was. When they saw the star they shouted joyfully. As they came into the house and saw the child with Mary his mother, they bowed down and worshipped him. They opened their treasure boxes and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. After being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back by another route to their own country.
O: The chief priests and experts in the law had knowledge about where God had predicted the Messiah would be born. When bloodthirsty King Herod asked them, they could give him the answer: Bethlehem.
Yet, unlike the "ignorant shepherds" out in the field, unlike the "learned pagans" who came from the east, they did nothing about that knowledge!
A: Many people know about Jesus. They know that He was born in Bethlehem. They may even believe that he lived a perfect life and died on the cross for our sins. But if you don't take action and live in light of that truth -- put your faith in Him, and follow Him -- if you just go on living your life just like everyone else, then you would be like those chief priests and experts in the law.
Many "Christians" are willing to take Jesus as "Saviour" but not as "Lord". "Lord" means that we actually follow what He says. That we present our own bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God -- which is our reasonable service. That we are not conformed to this present world, but that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we can test and approve what the will of God is -- what is good and well-pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)
I don't claim to do that perfectly, but as St. Paul wrote, "Not that I have already attained this—that is, I have not already been perfected—but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let those of us who are “perfect” embrace this point of view. If you think otherwise, God will reveal to you the error of your ways. Nevertheless, let us live up to the standard that we have already attained." (Philippians 3:12-16)
P: Father, thank You for Your Son whom you sent as a baby but who grew up to die on the cross for our sins and save us! May I live totally for You! In Jesus' name, amen.
Actually, the Magi might not have been pagans. They could have also been Hebrews descended from those exiles who did not return with Zerubabel, Joshua, Ezra and Nehemiah from the exile in Babylon.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)