Sunday, December 26, 2010

Wise Men, Part III of III

Wise Men, Part III of III
December 27, 2010
1 Corinthians 1:21 "For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe."

Having just celebrated the birth of Christ on Christmas only hours ago, the plan God had for mankind through the destiny of His Son's life should be fresh in our minds. The Magi, or Wise Men, who traveled from the East after seeing His star, recognized the significance of Jesus' birth. They understood and traveled a very long distance to come and worship Him. In a sense, the Magi were among the first believers of Christ's deity. They got the hints, probably from reading through prophecy, and believed. If they did not believe that the Savior had been born was the Son of God, they probably would not have been so willing to travel such a long distance to worship Him, or bring gifts to set at His feet. We often call these Magi "Wise Men" because they were successful at understanding the prophecies of Jesus' birth and finding the star in the sky that pointed to His physical location. But I would suggest they should be called "Wise Men" because of their belief in who this Christ Child was, the Deity of Jesus, the Son of the Living God.

It wasn't until Jesus' death and resurrection that the message of Christ's completed work on the cross for Salvation was preached throughout the world. This message of Salvation is interesting, though. No where else in history had anyone seen that the birth and death of a man could bring about the forgiveness of sins and eternal Salvation. It seemed such a foolish thought, when it was originally proposed, that Jesus was just that man, the fulfillment of what God set out to do for mankind. If you think about it, it seems foolish to this day, the idea that the birth of a Deity -- who would later be slaughtered-- could bring about such Salvation. It truly seems odd, foolish, and downright ludicrous. This is why it takes someone to "believe" in the message. If you could touch salvation, physically see your sin and Hell, then it wouldn't take a "belief" to make you understand what God did for you through the birth of His Son. The "wise" men of our age don't rightly understand this sometimes, that Jesus was sent to live, and then die, for their sins.

The message of Jesus was foolish when it was originally preached, and it is still foolish to many people today. God knew it would be deemed foolishness. But listen to what the writer, Paul, tells us regarding such thought:

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.' Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe."

It is interesting through reading this passage from 1 Corinthians, to realize that smart and learned men do not usually understand or "believe" in what God did through Jesus. I would submit to you, Believer, that you truly can be a learned man and also one who believes in Jesus, His birth, His death, and His salvation for you and mankind. The Magi did. They were clearly smart enough to study prophecy and possessed the ability to read the sky and follow a star, AND they believed in who He was (and is). They declared with their own words that they traveled specifically so they could worship Him. They believed in who Jesus was and wanted to worship Him. Wow. If only you and I could say that every day of our lives. If only we could declare that we believe in who He is and decide each day to go to great lengths so we could worship Him through all of our actions. That would make you a "Wise Man"; that would make me a "Wise Man."

If we did this, our actions would confound the smartest of the smart, but we would also be declaring that we truly are "Wise Men and Women of God." If we believed in who Jesus is, and lived our lives in worship unto Him, then our actions, however foolish they may be to outsiders, would be deemed Wise by the One True God. I'm confident the Magi had a lot of explaining to do in why they set out on such a long trek, but it was clearly a wise decision.

1. When was the last time you did something in your efforts to follow the Lord, that seemed foolish to others?
2. How can you make all your actions a declaration of what you truly believe about the Lord?
3. How is following the Lord and worshiping Him a wise thing for your life?

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Prov 17:16, Prov 28:26, Matt 2, 1 Cor 1:18-25, 1 Cor 2:6

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