Wise Men and their Mysterious Search

I have thought a lot about the “wise men” in the advent story this year. They intrigue me, challenge me, give me a new hope, a higher expectation.

Why would Magi from Babylon be interested in a “King of the Jews”? The Jewish nation hadn’t been a world power for hundreds of years; as a matter of fact, they were held captive under the heavy arm of Roman rule.  And how did these wise men know what the star rising in the East was pointing toward? They were pagans from a heathen land, so far removed from Bethlehem that it probably took nearly two years to make the journey! It’s an enigma to me. Human wisdom can’t explain it. But God’s mysterious, wooing love does.

Their pursuit from Babylon to Judea was unwavering. And by their own testimony the only guide they had was the star. Where the star went, they went. Persevering patiently, they traveled on and on, without wavering, without losing hope, even though the light of one star was the only evidence, the only pinpoint of God’s direction that they even hand. What kind of single-minded devotion is that?  No human effort can produce this kind of dogged pursuit. But God’s enduring pursuing love does.

The Magi followed the star all the way to Bethlehem with one purpose; “We have seen His star…and we have come to WORSHIP him.” They knew their search was not simply for an earthly ruler. They were looking for a king who deserved worship, a heavenly king. Their long journey, their fabulous gifts were a small token of what He deserved. The hope they had was not in a king for this age, but in a King for all eternity. And when they found him, small and chubby, and cuddled up to his mama in a hovel in Bethlehem, instead of wrapped in royal robes and cradled in the arms of opulence, they did not waver. They knelt and worshiped him. God’s upside-down economy did not deter them. No human hope sees through the facade of this world’s expectations. Only God’s unfathomable, unexpected love fills all the cracks with hope.

The magi are a mystery; but the greater mystery is God’s pursuing unsearchable, unending, and utterly impossible love.  Extended to heathens in a faraway land by way of one bright star, it still shines brightly from Bethlehem to the dark corners of the world, beckoning, pursuing, seeking.

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