Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Worship The King

How will you respond to the newborn King?

Matthew 2:1-3 Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking,

2 "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw His star as it rose, and we have come to worship Him."

3 King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem.

The arrival of a baby usually brings great joy and celebration but in the Christmas story it doesn't stop there. If we realize that the arrival of Jesus into our world means that God is with us then the celebration should also include worship.

Mankind has such a difficult time with worship, most of us don't realize that we love to worship, but the problem is we are drawn to worship incorrectly or we worship the wrong things. (Romans 1:21-25)

What do you worship? Some of us worship ourselves while for others that seems absurd because we know that we have way too many faults to deserve such high praise. Some of us are drawn to worship other people while some are content to worship something that doesn't even have life.

Worse of all, some of us are drawn to worship evil, demons and spirits are the focus of their worship, this scares most of us but others are drawn to it without a second thought. In the last days the survivors of God's discipline will still refuse to worship him and choose to worship evil despite the consequences that it brings. (Revelation 9:20)
If we fail to worship God, we always find a substitute, even if it ends up being ourselves.
-Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life
The Bible tells us that when we meet God our reaction will be worship so it is no surprise that when the wise men met Jesus their first reaction was worship. From their story we can learn a lot of lessons about worship.

Jesus should be worshipped as the King of the Jews and also as the king of the world. Herod had the official title "king of the Jews" given to him by Rome but nobody in his kingdom respected him as king and no one would ever call him their Messiah.
Genesis 49:10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from his descendants, until the coming of the One to whom it belongs, the One whom all nations will honor.
At the beginning of Matthew's gospel he shows us that great men came from other nations to worship the infant king, the ruler of the kingdom of God, and if you go to the last chapter of the book Jesus tells us to find other people from every nation and make disciples of them. If we do this then they will also be drawn to worship the king.

The wise men had to be educated in the Old Testament so they would know what to be watching for. Their knowledge caused them to watch with eager expectation which caused them to stop everything and go through a lot of trouble to find the child so that they could honor him with gifts and worship.
Psalms 72:9-14 Desert nomads will bow before him; his enemies will fall before him in the dust. 10 The western kings of Tarshish and other distant lands will bring him tribute. The eastern kings of Sheba and Seba will bring him gifts. 11 All kings will bow before him, and all nations will serve him.
The great effort and motivation of the wise men can be contrasted with the opposite great effort and motivation of Herod. The wise men were willing to give of their time and their treasure but Herod was only willing to protect his status and be a taker. Herod wouldn't allow anyone to challenge his position so he did anything he needed to do so that Jesus wouldn't make it from the cradle to the throne. 

The great effort and motivation of the wise men can also be contrasted with the greatest apathy of all time. The religious leaders that Herod consulted didn't have any desire to go worship, they knew the child should be a short distance down the road, but just because you have all of the information doesn't mean you will have any motivation.

Seeing all of these incredibly different responses to Jesus should be a little bit disturbing. What will my response be? How can I be sure that I will respond with the right amount of effort and the correct motivation? How great is my joy at the thought of worshipping him?
The joy that I pursue is not the hope of getting rich with things from you. I have not come to you for your things, but for yourself. And this desire I now intensify and demonstrate by giving up things, in the hope of enjoying you more, not things. By giving to you what you do not need, and what I might enjoy, I am saying more earnestly and more authentically, 'You are my treasure, not these things.'
Worshipping Jesus should be with great joy, I need to be thoughtful at all times about my response to Jesus, I need to stay aware of who he is and decide at every moment of my day that I will worship him correctly because I do know who he is.

If I truly believe that he was the perfect man that is worthy of my worship then I will strive to imitate him by using my time, my talents and my treasure to please him. It's the only worship that he has ever wanted. (Romans 12:1-2, Hebrews 10:1)