Matthew 2:1-6And so, when Jesus had been born in Bethlehem of Judah, in the days of king Herod, behold, Magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying: “Where is he who was born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and we have come to adore him.” Now king Herod, hearing this, was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. And gathering together all the leaders of the priests, and the scribes of the people, he consulted with them as to where the Christ would be born. And they said to him: “In Bethlehem of Judea. For so it has been written by the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, the land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah. For from you shall go forth the ruler who shall guide my people Israel.’ ”
I’ve become fascinated by this section of scripture as if I had never read it before. However, I’ve read it and heard it read as well as seen it portrayed every Christmas for over 50 years. But I never before understood as I now understand it’s importance.
For 20 some years I’ve encouraged people to read their bibles. To pray for and seek understanding of the scriptures. I’ve asked them to ask questions of the passage. Ask, who, what, where, when, and how them finally to ask what it means to them. The first five questions are seeking facts. The last question is seeking application.
As I’ve read today’s passage I realized that all the leaders of the priests, and the scribes of the people had the facts that they needed. Over hundreds of years various prophets had given pieces of the puzzle about the coming of the Messiah. The various students of the scriptures had all of the facts readily available to them, as evidenced by the speedy answer to the king, In Bethlehem of Judea. Yes, they had the facts but not the understanding or the application.
Knowledge is not wisdom. I enjoy watching shows like “Jeopardy”. Some of the contestants seem to have such a depth and breadth of knowledge that it is truly remarkable. However, few of them have the accompanying wisdom to turn the things they know into useful operation. Most seem to have very mundane jobs.
Jesus said, “You hypocrites! You discern the face of the heavens, and of the earth, yet how is it that you do not discern this time?” (Luke 12:56-57) Jesus was not here speaking to the priests and scribes. He was speaking to the crowds who were following him. He well could be speaking to us.
Lord, forgive us for not applying the truths you have given us. The facts are there before us. Give us the wisdom to put then to use. Amen
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