Here I am on Good Friday, the day the ordeal begins for Jesus, and in my reading for the day, I’m in Matthew 2, the story of the Magi coming to visit him. I had never thought much about God’s interaction with the Magi in this story. They’ve always been characters of convenience, men who show up, deliver some gifts, and disappear. But there is much more going on in the story than that, obviously.
They come because the star of the King appears. At the time of Jesus birth. These guys are astronomers, and they believe in astrology. God meets them where they are. In their whole story in Matthew 2, the Magi never speak of God or of seeking for God. They saw a star, it pointed to a new king, and they came to worship a new king. A human king. They believed the stars led them to a man worthy of worship. They are far from God in their story, in their search. They are diligently chasing the wrong thing, with all of their might, and God meets them in their broken beliefs, and still draws them to Jesus.
As I read this, and was trying to figure out how to apply this story, I realized that I often believe, even though I know better, that God only works in people in one way. I know it’s not true, but I default back to that so often. If a person isn’t coming to Jesus directly, through a church and a pastor, then not much is happening. But that is not true. These guys are chasing a star to a human king. In doing so, God introduces them to Jesus, and uses them to provide for Mary and Joseph. The Magi bring the gifts that fund the flight to Egypt. They are of a different religion, a different belief system, and God blesses them.
Herod is partly Jewish, and knows the places to seek truth in the Scriptures, and yet He misses it all.
God simply does not work the way I work. I have to hold fast to truth, and be willing to take hits for my beliefs, and AT THE SAME TIME make a lot more room for God to work in people who disagree with me in every way. This is such a challenge, but it is what God is calling us to. If He can use the Magi, and work in their hearts, He can and will use and work in anyone. My default methods don’t hem God in.
So, this Easter, how is God working around us, who is He working in and through, that we are quick to dismiss? Where is He moving, and we are refusing to believe it, because it doesn’t fit in our values or methods? I hope that we can model a firm commitment to an unchanging truth while we follow a God who specializes in unorthodox methods.
Christ is risen. Do we need more proof than that?