Weekly Devotion for Monday, January 10, 2022
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” Matthew 2:1-2
This past year I came to know a pastor in Vietnam who recently accepted a pastoral position in a congregation. The pastor sought my help as his church wanted to focus on the theme of “finding God” for the new year. I advised him on how to plan a preaching series, but there was more that he wanted. He asked me to do a whole year of preaching plan for him and to write a sermon on the topic as a sample. I reluctantly agreed, and in planning I found the Gospel lesson (Matthew 2:1-2) from this past Sunday to be a good one for the sample sermon. Let me briefly share here the synopsis of that sermon.
Wise men came from the east looking for God, the Messiah. The journey was not as easy as taking a flight today from Iraq or Arabia to Jerusalem. In those days people usually made a long journey by camel. It probably took months to go from where each of the wise men was to Jerusalem. Finding the Messiah was a long and hard journey, with dangerous roads and bad weather, of course in winter time. But they were so determined and finally found Jesus in Bethlehem.
Scripture and tradition led us to believe these wise men to be scholars, priests, even kings. They cultivated their wisdom (scientific knowledge), time, risks and hope in order to find the Messiah. These are factors that enabled them to achieve their finding, but more importantly, it was their humility. They humbled themselves, laying down their egos and status, and recognized their shortcomings… a need for the Messiah in their life and for the world. The wise men went searching that they might worship Him. The world needed a Savior, whom they also needed… for peace, love, liberty, and hope for all.
Where can God be found today? What would it take for people to find or accept God? I hope you agree with me that it will take a heart of humility and the willingness to seek with determination and hope. God can be found where the heart is, “nativity” which only people who humble themselves like the shepherds and wise men would find. God is with us and whoever humbly seeks shall find.
Dear God, the world needs you more than ever these days. Many believe in your existence. Others believe you are with us. But few are willing to take the journey to find you. Help us, your people, O Lord, that more people may come to find you in their lives. Amen.