The wise men have always been my favorite because they were … well … wise. I’ve always been attracted to people who are wise; who have the ability to use their minds effectively to think, rationalize, analyze, and articulate the truth. I’ve always been impressed that the truth holds up to that kind of scrutiny. I went to a college where a lot of very smart people taught all the disciplines of a liberal arts education under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, thus proving that faith and intellect are compatible. I’ve always been excited about the fact that being a Christian doesn’t mean you have to be a dummy. A lot of people who aren’t Christians think that is the case because there have been a number of non-thinking Christians representing Christianity of late, and that is truly unfortunate, but it is not true that a certain kind of blind ignorance is as requirement of faith. Humility, yes, but ignorance, no. Humility is not ignorance; it is intelligence, bowing.
I believe the truth will meet you at whatever level of intelligence you possess. It has to be as simple as that which a child can understand while at the same time as complicated as what a C.S, Lewis or Blaise Pascal can spend a lifetime writing about. It brought simple shepherds to the stable, and global wise men to the house. The shepherds were just standing in their fields when they got called, while the wise men had been seeking the stars and every known source of information for years to ascertain what was going to happen, because they had a hunch it was going to be something really special. And it was. The king of the universe — the King of all kings — was about to be born.
No wonder King Herod was concerned. These were wise men from far-off lands who had discerned a great king had been born in his jurisdiction, on his watch, and it was significant enough for these guys to amass their entourages and make the long journey to his country. Whoever this was who had been born, he was a king kings worship. You bet he was worried.
That’s why he sent his armies to sweep through the whole region where Christ’s birth was predicted to kill all Jewish male children under 2 years of age. Can you imagine anything more awful? Can you imagine having to obey orders to do that? That’s why Matthew wrote: “Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more. Matthew 2:17-18
The birth of Jesus brought death to thousands of innocent children. That’s a hard pill for anyone to swallow. How do you explain that to your children — that a loving, all-powerful God would allow such thing to happen?
What I can say is that Jesus came to the real world, and it’s a very complicated, messy world at that. He was not a sugar-coated prince with a blind eye to everything awful in the world. He was a “man of sorrows, acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). He knew what His birth caused, but He also knew what His birth was going to ultimately bring — hope and salvation to the nations — a salvation that would include, most likely, all those children who were slaughtered in an age of innocence. It’s a messy world He came to save, and it’s still messy, but in spite of that, Jesus is making all things new.
It’s a good thing because my life is pretty messy, too.