Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Praying for you, your family, your community, and the rest of the world. Right now, the whole world is suffering because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Let’s pray together to God, Our Ever-Loving Father, for His mercy and protection on all. Also, pray for God’s healing on those who are infected by the Coronavirus. We all believe God’s grace and love rest on all who look upon Him every moment with faith in Him.
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14)
Three wise men were watching over the sky for a sign. They were waiting for the sign for a newborn king’s birth, who was not a normal king, but an extraordinary king called the Messiah (the deliverer) and the Savior. They carefully studied the night sky every night, and they thoroughly researched the sign. For many years, they studied and looked. It was a tedious task. For so many years, they could not see the sign that they were waiting for. Every night was the same as the previous night. However, they did not stop watching the night sky. They had one hope that they would see the sign for a newborn king’s birth. One night, they saw a bright star, which was the sign that they had been waiting for so many years. As soon as they saw the star, they followed the star.
The star guided them west. The three wise men joyfully followed the star. They passed many towns and valleys because of the star. The star continued guiding them. And as they were traveling westward, their joy of seeing the newborn king was also getting increasing. Then they stopped counting how many towns they had passed on the way; it no longer mattered. The journey was difficult and sometimes dangerous, but they joyfully followed the star because their expectation of seeing the newborn king occupied the entirety of their hearts.
Then the star led them to Jerusalem, which was one of the biggest cities at that time. They started to see lots of people. As they stepped into Jerusalem, they could see the star no longer. They got lost in the vast city and did not know what to do. They looked around, but all looked strange and confusing, quite different from where they came. How they talked, how they wore, and how they interacted with were all different. On the other hand, they immediately stood out among the people. People easily could see that they were from far away and got lost in Jerusalem.
One person kindly approached the three wise men and asked, “Do you need help?” What a relief! The three wise men seemed noble, although they looked strange. Then he took them to the palace to get proper help. As arriving at the palace gate, the palace guards came out and met the three wise men. The palace guards also treated them very politely. The palace guards immediately knew that they were not ordinary people but noble people from a country from afar. The palace guards, then, took the three wise men to King Herod. King Herod was sitting high on his throne, and his high-level officials surrounded him.
As entering, all looked at the three wise men whom the palace guards brought. All easily could tell that the noble three men from afar. What they wore was quite different, and they were the noble. All looked at the three wise men’s faces, which telegraphed that they came to Jerusalem with a critical mission.
Then King Herod kindly received the three wise men as entering. King Herod greeted them, and they bowed to the king. Then King Herod asked them what he could do for them. The three wise men without hesitation answered,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2)
Suddenly a silence fell. Nobody made any noise at all. Before King Herod, the most powerful man in the Jewish country, they asked where a new king of the Jews would be born. Indeed, the three wise men searched for another king before King Herod, the current king of the Jews at the moment. It was a politically incorrect question and almost suicidal, which offended the king and the high-level officials standing before King Herod. King Herod was honestly shocked due to their political insensitivity and their bravery. King Herod was furious, but he kept his posture. He fonder for a while what he would do next. However, his anger escaped through his face. People saw King Herod’s struggle not to show his emotion.
The three wise men’s blatant question made King Herod deeply disturbed, as was everyone in Jerusalem. The blatant question quickly spread throughout Jerusalem. The peaceful Jerusalem was troubled with fear of and question about the newborn king. The blatant question continued threatening King Herod and the high-rank officials standing before the king. The three wise men did not know that their question would threaten King Herod and his officials that much because they thought that it was common knowledge. They thought the newborn king’s birth was well known to all Jewish people because they knew this in a country far from Jerusalem. They came in peace with a message of hope about the newborn king of the Jews, but the peace in Jerusalem was no more.
King Herod gave a deep thought. He did not know about the birth of a new king. If such a newborn king existed, it would be a direct threat to his kingship. HIs logical conclusion was to eliminate the infant king before he became a real king later. A murderous thought had already filled King Herod’s heart. As the first step of his murderous plot, he called a meeting of the leading priest and teachers of religious law and asked,
“Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” (Matthew 2:4b)
Please note that King Herod asked about the Messiah, not a just newborn king, although the three wise men only asked about the newborn king. King Herod knew about the Messiah, who would come. He, as a Jew, was taught about Messiah since he was a child. Indeed, all in Jerusalem waited for the Messiah. However, Herod did not want to see the Messiah because when the Messiah became the king of the Jews, King Herod would be no longer a king. Thus, even the Messiah became a direct threat to King Herod and his kingship.
To locate and eliminate (that is, to kill) the newborn king, King Herod needed more information. King Herod asked the leading priests and teachers of religious law, and they readily answered. They knew the detail, although the general public had little knowledge except a coming of the Messiah.
“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:
‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah,
are not least among the ruling cities of Judah,
for a ruler will come from you
who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.'” (Matthew 2:5,6)
King Herod was much pleased. The next step was to find the time and the exact location of the newborn king’s birth. Then King Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them,
“Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!” (Matthew 2:8b)
What evil instruction it was! King Herod talked in peace, but in his heart, the murderous intent was in action to kill the newborn king because of fear of the newborn king. The peaceful message brought by the three wise men completely shattered King Herod’s peace on earth. King Herod’s earthly fear made a vicious plan to kill the newborn king, the Messiah.
After this interview, the wise men went their way without knowing the vicious plot of King Herod. However, God was with them. God protected them and their heart. How? God made King Herod want the three wise men. For King Herod, they were the only way to find and kill the newborn king. God’s wisdom was surely greater than the earthly wisdom of King Herod. If King Herod had not made his vicious plot to destroy the newborn Messiah, King Herod would have had killed three wise men at the scene because of their blaspheming statement — searching for another king before King Herod. God protected the three wise men using the King’s own wisdom.
Thus, we, God’s people and the messenger of God, should not fear in this world. First, God protects us by making the world deceived by its own wisdom as King Herod did to the three wise men. Give praises to God for His infinite wisdom!
And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star stopped, they were truly joyful! Finally, they had arrived at destiny. Along the way, there were many perils that they could have been killed, including King Herod’s fury. But God protected them who brought the message of peace – the birth of a new king, the Messiah. Instead, God’s peace rested on the three wise men, and it remained with them always.
By the way, the place where the star stopped was neither a palace nor a mansion where the newborn king should be born. It was a humble stable, which was a place for animals, not a human. Others might return to where they came from as soon as they found the birthplace was a stable where animals took rest at night. However, they dismounted from the camels and grabbed the treasure chests that they brought. They bent down and walked into the stable. Then they saw the newborn king, the Messiah in the manger, who was peacefully sleeping. They before the newborn king.
Heavenly peace filled their hearts as finally seeing the newborn king, Messiah. They worshipped the newborn king. Then they opened their treasure chests, carefully prepared for the newborn king. One by one, they placed their gifts of gold before the newborn king: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The gold was a symbol of kingship on earth, the frankincense (an incense) a symbol of deity, and the myrrh (an embalming oil) a symbol of death. Therefore, the newborn king was born as the Messiah who would die as the perfect man and perfect God for all mankind was foretold.
When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod. God protected the newborn king, the Messiah, and the three wise men could escape from the edge of King Herod’s sword. The three wise men came in peace to praise and worship the newborn king, who was peacefully sleeping in the manger, and they returned to their country peacefully. King Herod failed to kill the newborn king, the Messiah. His wisdom could not stop the newborn king, and his earthly peace left him forever while putting him in fear of the newborn king, the Messiah.
On the night of the newborn king’s birth, there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, peacefully guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them.
“Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:8-12)
Suddenly, a vast host of others—the armies of Heaven—praising God joined the angel and said,
“Glory to God in highest Heaven,
and peace on earth to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14)
What a scene! The shepherds were truly amazed, but not disturbed as the people in Jerusalem, especially as King Herod and his officials. They realized that they were greatly blessed. God’s peace from Heaven rested on the shepherds. Neither King Herod nor the high officials and the Jerusalem residents could not receive peace from God.
When the angels had returned to Heaven, the shepherds said to each other,
“Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” (Luke 2:15b)
The shepherds hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. Yes, they met the newborn baby sleeping peacefully in the manger although, in Jerusalem, King Herod had planned to kill the newborn king, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, Our Savior. The incredible peace was inside the stable in Bethlehem. Nothing was disturbing or threatening. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, who was the king of peace, was born to forgive and reconcile all sinners like us and made us become the citizen of His eternal kingdom.
After seeing Jesus Christ, the newborn king, on the manger, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them. It was the night of the glory of God, who sent His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, who was born and humbly laid on the manger.
However, the peaceful scene was just a prelude to God’s plan for us to have eternal peace with Him despite all our sins. The first man hid with Eve when God called them because they were afraid of God due to their sins. Since then, all humans have sinned without exception. Once sin came into humanity, it has never left. All inhale and exhale sins. Rather than diminishing, sins have been multiplying ever since.
The sin divided God and us, and the division has been with us while being ever-deepening, which has made us even more afraid of God. However, God sent His son Jesus Christ, the Messiah and the Savior, by being humbly born on the manger. Then God put sins of all on HIs shoulder and sacrificed Him as the perfect sacrificial lamb. As a result, all our sins are forgiven. The terrible barrier between God and us is destroyed at once. We can approach God without fear because our sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross. Instead, the eternal peace between God and us has been restored, which we lost as Adam sinned.
The newborn king, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, became the true Messiah to all who believe in Him by delivering us from all our sins. God provided His eternal peace on us as we believe this truth and accept Jesus as our Savior. However, those who do not accept Jesus Christ as their Savior will continue experiencing fear instead of peace, and they run straight to the eternal death, which waits for all those who believe Jesus Christ and did not wash their sins with the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross.
The peace announced by the angels on the day of the birth of Jesus Christ is resounding everywhere to everybody, even today and very this moment. Come. Come and receive Jesus Christ, the newborn king, as the Messiah and Savior. Then experience the eternal peace from God in this Advent season. God lavishly pours out this blessed gift to all who open hearts and receive Jesus Christ, the newborn king, and the Messiah. The birth of the newborn king, the Messiah, is the most blessed message of today for all, reaching out to every corner of our troubled earth filled with many pains and hardships, including COVID-19.
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. (Romans 5:1)