"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 2:11-12).
Today we pause one last time on the subject of the ‘three wise men’ – and how wise indeed they were, not because of their intellectual ability nor their vast knowledge (which I am certain they possessed much of), but rather because of their desire to find the One to whom the Bethlehem star belonged – the Christ-child, the Saviour of the world. Any man or woman who hungers and thirsts to know this Jesus and who does not rest until He is known, is considered wise.
How does the story of these men end at least as recorded in our passage of Scripture? Well, the Bible says that these men “returned to their country by another route”.
This is interesting wording here. Another route/another way. Yes, literally this means another geographical route/ a different road. But these men returned to their country by “another way”, in more ways than one.
You see, their journey of discovery and faith which started in Persia, upon seeing the star, did not end when they encountered Jesus. It continued when they left that place. But this time they left by another way.
They had a new world-view.
Their eyes had been opened to behold the Saviour of the world.
Thus is the experience of anyone who encounters the Lord Jesus Christ on the road of life.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor 5:17).
I am reminded of an old friend of mine who studied with me at Seminary in Cape Town who once shared this story. He had grown up in a 'dysfunctional' family. As a young man he got involved with gangsterism and alcohol abuse.
One night after a night out on the town He bypassed a little church, and he heard them singing a hymn. He decided to go in…He did not know what drew him in. In his drunken stupor he could not remember if his intention was to disrupt the service but in he went, and he sat under God’s word.
At the end of the service, when the preacher extended an Altar Call, my friend found himself upfront being prayed for. He walked into that service a drunken gangster – he left that service a forgiven child of God. He never touched the drink bottle again; he renounced his former ways – Christ had met with him that night, and my friend left by another way.
We are not told what became of these wise men. The last we are told is that they went back to their country another way.
Magi, wise men, kings– call them what we may – but let’s not forget to call them “changed men”. Because that’s what they were.
Perhaps they should not have been there, in the opinion of others. But they were.
They worshiped Jesus,
They gave him their gifts, and
They left another way – they had experienced the grace of God in Jesus – and they would be forever changed by that gift of grace.
Yes, they had given their gifts/treasures to Jesus, but that would have paled in comparison to what He had given to them.
That which they had been seeking, they found in Jesus. That which they could not fill with anything else, they found satisfied by Jesus.
Friend, whether you consider yourself a Christian believer or not today, the reality is that your reading this devotion is by no means a coincidence or mere chance. This season, may you be drawn to loving Saviour and experience His love in a very real way. The reality is none of us should ‘be here’; called by His Name! None of us deserve His unmerited grace and forgiveness, but thankfully, these gifts and so much more He extends to us again this Season.
May you leave the reading of this devotion and enter a brand new year, by another way. Touched by the grace of God!
My yesterdays, I am not the proudest of,
Certainly, many mistakes, missteps in my past;
Despite the mess, the brokenness you welcome me in,
Offering a new start, fresh beginnings, life that will last.