Here’s the story of the Magi or wise men visiting Jesus:
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, 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.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
“‘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.’”
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 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.” 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. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 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. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
(Matthew 2:1-12 ESV)
Here we have men of reason and knowledge visiting Jesus. They were astronomers or astrologers, the difference was less clear in Jesus’ day. Suffice it to say, they would have believed events in heavens connected with events on earth, and something told them that a King of the Jews was being born.
They used their considerable resources, money, time to travel to Israel. They risk robbery on the road, or disappointment when they arrive. Once there, they gave their treasured gifts, and their worship. They gave their hearts, to a baby or child (this may have happened up to two years after Jesus’ birth).
This was not a small thing, worshipping a baby. If they are wrong, and this isn’t God himself, they could be accused of idolatry, worshipping something on earth rather than God in heaven. They also risk embarrassment, intellectual ridicule, etc.
Question: What practical risks are involved in following Jesus today? How do you calculate what risks are worthwhile?
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