The wise men came to see Jesus en masse, not just three which we tend to hear about in Christmas songs. Three people alone would not have created a stir that they did. And they began to ask around,
“Where is the King of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him” (2:2).
King Herod was disturbed. But you know who else was disturbed?
“All Jerusalem” (2:3)
The whole city was perplexed. They weren’t sure what this meant.
Since King Herod was facing competition, he called the chief priests and teachers of the Law and asked them where the Christ was to be born. They correctly replied, “Bethlehem.”
I find this very interesting. All of Jerusalem had heard that the king of the Jews had been born and he was going to be worshiped by the magi. The shepherds in the fields had a supernatural encounter and they too worshiped. And even Herod went to seek out this new baby, albeit to kill him. But the Jewish spiritual leaders of Israel, even though they knew where the Christ was to be born, and there was testimony that he had indeed been born, did not seek him.
If you have waited all your life for something and you hear even a whisper that it might have come, would you not at least go and seek it out?
A man named Simeon had eagerly awaited Jesus his whole life. He was always searching and at the end of his days, he would hold the Messiah in his arms and rejoice (Lk 2:25-35). He was always looking for this baby and when the baby came, he rejoiced.
And there was also Anna. She was a very old widow who stayed in the temple, continuously fasting and praying in the temple, night and day. She waited and yearned for the Messiah. And when the boy Jesus came to the temple, she recognized him immediately and praise God (Lk 2:36-39).
But when the boy Jesus was born, the spiritual leaders of Israel appear to have done nothing. Nothing at all.
We don’t read about them seeking Jesus out to see if he is who he says he is. We don’t see them bringing him gifts. We don’t see them going out to see if he is who everyone says he is. They just aren’t in the scene at all.
In this I wonder if they have been so caught up in the rhythm of religion that they stopped seeking the Christ. When did this happen? Did they start out zealous and their spiritual senses were dulled by the mundane? Or did their enjoyment of respect diminish their thirst for the king to come? Somewhere along the line, their senses and sensibility became numb. And when the one thing they hoped for all their life came, they didn’t even appear to have a flicker of care to investigate.
It’s easy to stand in condemnation, but it’s easier to unknowingly walk the same path. Are we thirsty to see Christ return a second time? Are we caught up in the rhythms of religion that we are not on our knees daily in Him? Are our senses numb to the Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives? Are we fully attuned to His heart?