DAY 23 | COME TO WORSHIP HIM

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the One who has been born King of the Jews? We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”

Matthew 2:1-2

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The shepherds had a short way to go to find the Christ Child, just hours after His birth in Bethlehem. The Magi from the East, on the other hand, had to journey further in order to find Him, in order to arrive and worship Him as the angels and shepherds had done. But they had to arrive, and they had to offer their worship, for with their arrival two years after Jesus’ birth we see a picture of the Gentiles coming to Christ. The shepherds arrival to worship Jesus shows us a picture of the Jews, “who were near,” coming to Christ and with the Magi we see Gentiles, “who were afar off, and strangers to the covenants of promise,” coming to worship (Ephesians 2:11-18).

Paul, specifically in Ephesians 2:12-14 says that Jesus Himself is our peace, that “He created...one new man out of the two [Jew, Gentile], thus making peace.” This language of Paul’s sounds much like the announcement of the angels with Jesus’ Advent: “And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” With the arrival of Christ we see God’s pleasure towards humanity—a pleasure He’d demonstrate through His forgiveness of our sins, the healing of our diseases, the rescuing of our hearts from darkness. And in Himself, He created one new man, doing away with the sense that some of use are nearer to God (depicted by the Jews), some of us are further off (depicted by the Gentiles).

He does away with this divide of near and far, holy and less holy, by coming near to all and, once and for all, doing away with these distinctions. Christ eliminates the sense of exclusion and animosity that this divide created by re-creating humanity in Himself. Jesus is our peace, and it’s through this Peace, His Peace, that He reconciled the division in humanity—a division about who was closer to God, who further.

His Advent meant that the Magi of the East—according to scholars these were probably astrologers and diviners from Persia, who may have followed the Zoroastrian religion—pagans who were “strangers to the covenants of promise” could come to worship Christ, and He’d receive their worship! Jews knew something of the True God, but the multitude of Gentiles would worship anything and everything because they knew nothing of the True God. In a way, both were blind and needed a revelation to see that the God they sought, in a temple (for Jews) or among idols (for Gentiles), had now come in human form.

To put it differently and simply, the Advent of Jesus meant for all humans, those near and those far, that His arrival was going to change worship of God entirely and completely, forever. The far off and the nearby could now all come, and revelation of who He is would be the only way they’d be able to find Him now, to worship.