2019 Advent Devotional – Day 18


Matthew 2:7-8 – Herod told the wise men to find Jesus

Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.”

Salvation - Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario

The paradoxes continue in Matthew’s narrative: not only is the least made most, now the outsiders are given centre stage while the insiders fade from view. The chief priests and teachers—the biblical scholars who formed Herod’s inner circle—had the knowledge of Jesus’ birthplace but did nothing with this information. 

It was left to the foreigners, the wise men from the east, to discover God’s promised Saviour. Thus the outsiders undertook the search while those most familiar with the Hebrew scriptures and prophecies did not follow. 

Knowledge, then, is not enough. Like the scribes, we are not judged on what we know or profess, but on how we act. Merely knowing the story of the birth and life of Jesus is academic, if it does not also transmit to our hearts and change the way we live. 

The immensity of God’s love is such, though, that once you truly know this, you cannot help but be touched and changed by God’s gift. For the scribes, no doubt palace life went on as normal; for the wise men, nothing would ever be the same again.

Compelling God,
May the depth of your love engulf and inspire me, pulling me closer to you. The breadth of your love encompasses all my shortcomings and failings, rescuing me when I go astray. Your ceaseless love seeks me out and you will not rest until I am embraced by your care. Guide me, God, to search always for your truth, in the unexpected places and surprising people where you can be found. Amen.

Thank you for joining us on this prayerful path through Advent.
Blessings and best wishes for 2020.

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