And, having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
Some wise men come from the East looking for a child who is to be the King of the Jews. King Herod is very perturbed about this and asks his own “wise men”- the priests and scribes- where the Messiah is to be born. They tell him Bethlehem.
Herod sends the wise men to Bethlehem and tells them that when they find the child they are to let him know so he can come and pay homage.
The wise men go to Bethlehem where the star leads them to the house where Jesus’ family is staying. They worship the child and offer their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Then they return home by a different road.
These wise men were Magi, wealthy and respected astrologers and soothsayers from Babylon. They were most likely descendants of the wise men of Daniel’s day and may well have been aware of Daniel’s prophecies which indicated the time of the Messiah. Today these people would be the gurus and elites of the New Age movement.
It is interesting that the first worshippers of Jesus were the poor deplorable shepherds and the Gentile idolaters.
The Magi used their human wisdom and common sense to get them to Bethlehem. They knew from their astrology that a king had been born in Israel. They naturally went to the powerful people at the palace. Then the star led them to the child they were seeking.
But, after encountering the Lord, they were warned in a dream from the Lord to go a different way home and not to go back to Herod.
An encounter with Jesus will change your course.
Common sense, human wisdom and what we know will take a person so far in the christian life. It is only when we meet Christ, have an encounter with the living God, only then are our lives truly changed. Inly then can we go by a different road.
The way of religion is to make myself right with God. Say the right prayers, live a good life, go to church. Religion may change what we do but it does not change our hearts.
It is when I realise that I cannot make the grade, that I am hopelessly trapped in my sin, only then can I reach out to God and receive His gift of salvation in Christ.
It is a choice that sends our lives along a different road; a road of grace and freedom in Christ,
Lord Jesus I pray today for my friends and family members who do not know you. Please give them an encounter with you that will change the path they are on. Amen.