I love the story of the wise-men at Christmas, who, seeing his star in the eastern sky set out to search for a king - the ‘one who has been born king of the Jews’ (Matthew 2:2). I love it because despite being ‘wise’, despite having intelligence, wealth and social standing, these men still felt the need to search for a king. Whatever they had, and wherever they were at in life, it wasn’t enough; there was room for a king in their hearts and they wouldn’t stop until they’d found Him.
And so they travelled. Firstly from the East (likely Iraq, Iran or Syria) to Jerusalem, and then from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. Hours of travel, on bumpy roads, out of their comfort zone, across dangerous territory, into an unknown land - in search of a better king. Holy impatience meant that they weren’t prepared to sit and wait to see if this king paid their city a visit one day. They had to go and find him for themselves. The search was on.
Following the star, they found him - and were never the same again. They became worshippers and gave gifts. When Jesus touches our hearts, our worship overflows into generosity. And true worship will always lead to relationship: ‘Having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route’ (Matthew 2:12). The dream to me sounds like something from heaven. Godly worship, followed by Godly dreams. Their search for a better king had changed their lives.
And a search for a better king will also change our lives. I say better because from birth, we all live under the illusion that we are king. Not intentionally, it’s just the way we are. We’ve inherited the sin-gene from our first parents, Adam and Eve. The gene that thought they could be king by ignoring the real King who told them not to eat the apple from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The rest, as they say, is history, but history that needed changing by a new King, a perfect heavenly King who would lay down His life for the all of our prideful king-making.
For those of us today who have, by the grace of God, found a better king, we know that the battle for king still rages on; the ‘kings’ of fear, anxiety, materialism, comfort and control all keep trying to take their place on the throne of our hearts. If that’s you, (and it’s all of us most of the time if we’re completely honest!), there’s hope in the searching. Searching isn’t weakness; its hunger, desire and a clear cry to God that we are desperate for Him to interrupt our lives and dethrone the kings that are setting themselves up in our hearts. Jesus said “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). Asking, seeking, knocking look and sound much like searching to me.
Like our wise friends from the east discovered, in the searching there will be wonder, there will be amazement and there will be a treasure far richer and more satisfying than any Gold, Frankincense or Myrrh. The treasure has a name. The treasure is Jesus.
Questions for reflection
- What kings are trying to set up home in my life at the moment? What do I need to surrender to Jesus’ rule and reign?
- How am I going to search for Jesus this Christmas? What am I going to do differently?
- How will I know I’ve found Jesus again this year? What am I expecting to look different? How will I know?