The Unashamed Pursuit of Jesus

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 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, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
Matthew 2:9-12

The wise men followed the star as far as Jerusalem. Were they surprised that their inquiries as to the whereabouts of the Messiah were met with confusion, and not, “right this way”? Wasn’t everyone aware something extraordinary had taken place? Wasn’t everyone looking for the promised Son? With guidance from the Jewish leaders, who we’d think would be eager to join the wise men in their quest for the Messiah, they headed to Bethlehem and finally arrived at their destination. And they were overjoyed!

What did Mary and Joseph think of the strangers at their door? If they had started to think of Jesus as a normal child, this was their reminder he was the promised Messiah. The wise men bowed to worship this young child years before Jesus began his ministry as they worshiped through eyes of faith!

Their gifts—gold, frankincense, and myrrh were gifts suitable for a king, and apart from the expensive jar of perfume poured out at his feet, would likely be some of the most extravagant gifts Jesus received.

And then the Magi offered one last gift to this king who held their adoration. When told in a dream not to go back to Herod, they obeyed, giving Joseph time to pack up his family and move them out of Bethlehem before Herod unleashed his wrath.

My life is a sharp contrast to these wise men. I am not always so overjoyed to spend time with Jesus. At times reading my Bible becomes one more thing to check off the list. I’ve mumbled my way through the liturgy and listened half-heartedly to the sermon; mindlessly invited him to be my guest at dinner without worrying about what I say at the table.

Too often, my worship is clouded with doubt. Will You show up, Lord? Do you have this under control?

More often than I want to admit, I’ve brought just my trinkets to Jesus. I am guilty of putting in only so much effort, serving only so much, and complaining when I break that threshold.

And though I am aware of what God asks of me, I am not always so quick to fall in line with God’s will. I turn to grumbling instead of gratitude, and to disrespect (in my mind if not vocally) instead of humble submission.

These men of high standing were unashamed in their pursuit of Jesus. They unabashedly showed their joy and reverence. They brought the Messiah costly gifts, and they humbly obeyed God’s sovereign will. Oh Lord, who brought me the greatest gift possible—salvation—work in my heart, that I may do the same!


Father, thank you for your unfailing kindness even when my love is half-hearted. Fill me so I may be overjoyed. Move me to generosity and work obedience in my reluctant heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Written by Amber Albee Swenson
Provided by WELS Women’s Ministry

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