Tuesday, January 5, 2016

seeking god


Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”  When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.  They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
 
“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
 
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared.  And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-8)


 
No matter how you slice it, you can’t genuinely seek God second-hand.  No one else can do the work for you.  In the spiritual life, sending someone else to find out the truth about Jesus, and then asking them to come back to tell you what they’ve found, will not suffice.  Only genuine, personal encounter with Jesus will truly transform us. 
     Herod was curious about—and maybe even a little threatened by—the stories he had heard about this newborn King.  But he wasn’t curious enough, or threatened enough—or even interested enough, for that matter—to seek the truth for himself.  For some reason he wasn’t willing to make the six mile journey to Bethlehem.  Who knows, maybe he was too busy.  Maybe he had too much going on.  Maybe he had too many obligations, expectations, and demands weighing on him.  Maybe he had more urgent, and seemingly more important, matters to attend to.  After all, he had to make a living, right?  He had a kingdom to run, for crying out loud.  He couldn’t be expected to just drop everything and run off to see this One, who wise men from the east had traveled hundreds of miles to see.  I mean, he had far too many responsibilities to just take off at the drop of a hat and run around the countryside trying to find the One who caused a star to rise to announce his birth.  And so he sent others to go and see this extraordinary, life-changing event; while he stayed back and took care of the really important things.  What a tragedy.    

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