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Devotional Hours with the Bible, Volume 6: Chapter 1 - The Wise Men and the Child

By J.R. Miller

      Matthew 1 and 2

      The Gospel of Matthew begins with a genealogy. Then comes the story of the birth and infancy. Jesus was born at Bethlehem. This was the most wonderful event of human history--the coming of the Son of God in human flesh into this world. Love was born that night. True, there was love in the world before. Mothers loved their children. Friend love friend. Natural affection was common. But the love which we know as Christian love had its beginning in the birth of Jesus Christ. It is well for us to note, however, that the historical event of Christ's birth is not that which saves us. He must be born again in us.

      Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born,
      If He's not born in you--your soul is all forlorn.

      This greatest even in history, made little stir in the world. Usually when heirs to a throne are born, whole realms ring with joy. But when the Messiah was born, there was no earthly rejoicing. A few humble shepherds came and looked with wonder on the new-born Babe that lay in the young mother's arms--but that was all. The Jews had been looking for their Messiah, but did not recognize Him when He came. His advent was quiet. There was no blare of trumpets. Noise and show are not necessary accompaniments of power.

      The mightiest energies in this world are often the quietest. The grace of God always comes quietly. Angels minister noiselessly. The most useful Christians are not those who make the most ado at their work, but those who in humility and simplicity, unconscious of any splendor in their faces, go daily about their work for their Master.

      We cannot understand just how the wise men were led to Jerusalem. They said they saw the King's star in the east and were led by it. There has been a great deal of speculation as to the character of this star, whether it was a natural or a supernatural appearance. But it does not matter; whatever it was, it led these men to the feet of Christ. Even the faintest glimmerings of spiritual light should be welcomed by us and their guidance accepted. We should not wait to know all about Christ, and to see Him in all His glory, before we set out to seek Him. We should follow the first faint gleams, and then as we go on the light will brighten, and we shall see more and more of Him, until at length we behold Him in all His blessed beauty, face to face. Certainly there is no one in Christian lands in these days, who does not have a great deal more light to guide him to the Christ, than these wise men had.

      The Herods have an unenviable record in New Testament history. When this Herod, Herod the Great, heard the inquiries of the wise men, he was greatly troubled. Hearing of Christ does not always bring joy. It brought gladness to the humble shepherds and to the wise men, but to Herod it brought great distress. Christ's name makes bad men think of their sins--and then of the judgment. It is only when we see Christ and want to have Him for our Friend, that the thought of Him is sweet and pleasant. "For you therefore who believe He is precious." Those whose faith is fixed upon Him, are never terrified by thoughts of Him.

      Herod, unable himself to answer the question of the wise men, turned to the scribes and asked them where the Messiah should be born. It did not take them long to give the answer. They could even give chapter and verse, and could tell the very name of the town in which the Messiah was to be born. These facts were all down in their books. Yet we do not see that they made any use of their knowledge. They could tell the wise men where the Christ was to be born, but they did not themselves take one step toward Bethlehem to search for Him, when they learned of His birth there. Most of us know our Bible well, and can tell others glibly enough where and how to find the Christ. But have we ourselves gone to the place where He is, to search for Him and to worship Him?

      "On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh." Matthew 2:11. The scene when the wise men found the Child-king was very beautiful. They saw only a little baby lying in a young mother's arms. There was no crown on His head. No glory gleamed from His face. His surroundings were most unkingly, without pomp or brilliance. The child did nothing before them to show His royalty--spoke no word, wrought no kingly act of power. Yet the wise men believed and worshiped Him. Think how much more we know about the Christ than they did. It is easy for us to find kingly marks in Him. Shall we be behind the wise men in our adoration?

      The wise men did more than adore--they opened their treasures and offered gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh which they had brought all the way from their own home. The sincerity of their worship--was thus attested by the costliness of their gifts. The treasures they had brought were of great value--the most costly things they could find, the best they had to give. It is not enough to give Christ an homage that costs nothing. He asks for our gifts, the offerings of our love, our service, the consecration of our lives. Giving is the test of loving--the measure of our loving Christ--is what we are willing to give and sacrifice.

      There are many ways of laying our offerings at the feet of Jesus Christ. He Himself does not need our money, but His cause needs it. The extension of His kingdom in this world at home and abroad requires money, and this must be brought by His followers. Those who have no interest in the saving of others, in the sending of the Gospel to those who have it not, have not themselves really tasted of the love of Christ.

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See Also:
   Chapter 1 - The Wise Men and the Child
   Chapter 2 - John, the Forerunner of Jesus
   Chapter 3 - The Baptism and Temptation of Jesus
   Chapter 4 - The Beginning of the Galilean Ministry
   Chapter 5 - True Blessedness
   Chapter 6 - Some Laws of the Kingdom
   Chapter 7 - Almsgiving and Prayer
   Chapter 8 - Worldliness and Trust
   Chapter 9 - The Golden Rule
   Chapter 10 - False and True Discipleship
   Chapter 11 - Jesus, the Healer
   Chapter 12 - The Power of Faith
   Chapter 13 - The Mission of the Twelve
   Chapter 14 - The Question of John the Baptist
   Chapter 15 - Warning and Invitation
   Chapter 16 - Two Sabbath Incidents
   Chapter 17 - Growing Hatred to Jesus
   Chapter 18 - The Parable of the Sower
   Chapter 19 - The Parable of the Tares
   Chapter 20 - Pictures of the Kingdom
   Chapter 21 - The Multitudes Fed
   Chapter 22 - Jesus Walks on the Sea
   Chapter 23 - The Canaanite Woman
   Chapter 24 - Peter's Confession
   Chapter 25 - The Transfiguration
   Chapter 26 - A Lesson on Forgiveness
   Chapter 27 - Jesus on the Way to Jerusalem
   Chapter 28 - The Laborers in the Vineyard
   Chapter 29 - Jesus Nearing Jerusalem
   Chapter 30 - Jesus Entering Jerusalem
   Chapter 31 - Two Parables of Judgment
   Chapter 32 - The King's Marriage Feast
   Chapter 33 - Three Questions
   Chapter 34 - The Lesson of Watchfulness
   Chapter 35 - The Wise and Foolish Virgins
   Chapter 36 - The Parable of the Talents
   Chapter 37 - The Last Judgment
   Chapter 38 - The Anointing of Jesus
   Chapter 39 - The Last Supper
   Chapter 40 - Peter's Denial
   Chapter 41 - Jesus in Gethsemane
   Chapter 42 - The Trial of Jesus
   Chapter 43 - The Crucifixion
   Chapter 44 - The Resurrection


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