Matthew 2:1-12 — After Encountering Jesus Personally, We Hear From God To Take A Different Road

Posted: August 26, 2015 in Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 2:1-12 — The final verse of this passage tells us, “When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.” As we make the final blog entry for this passage, it reminds us of our own encounters with the King of Kings. From this verse, we can learn two things. Until we meet Jesus personally, we are searching and seeking and it is only after meeting Him that we can know God. And we cannot return unto the path which brought us here is the other.

Did you notice in this verse that the wise men were warned by God. These wise men are mentioned nowhere else in Scripture but after meeting, worshiping and bestowing gifts upon the child Jesus, they are able to hear directly from God. When this passage opens and from historical records, we know the magi were the academic class of the Babylonian and then Parthian empires. We know that they know of Scripture because of the legacy of Daniel. It is the legacy of Daniel and their study of Scripture that brings them into this scene in the Gospel of Matthew. They knew the prophecies of the Old Testament. They had all the book knowledge of Scripture, but they were still seeking. They were asking questions so that they could find the baby Jesus. They did not know how to find Him themselves. They were guided along the way. The seeds were planted in their lineage hundreds of years earlier. They had all the head knowledge of Scripture but yet they were still lost. It was not until they met Jesus for themselves that everything became clear. Their book knowledge became alive and real when they met Jesus. They understood what the Scriptures meant. They understood they were in the presence of the promised Messiah. God’s Word had come alive.

Is it not the same for us? We can be readers of the Bible without being saved. We can have all the book knowledge of Scripture that we need. We can see it is as an awesome collection of literature. We can discount the miracles as myth. We can discount Jesus as the Son of God and make Him in a radical rabbi martyr for the causes of the downtrodden. But it is not until we encounter Jesus on our knees seeking Him as our Savior that we truly understand and believe. It is only then that we begin to be more in tune with God through the workings of the Holy Spirit in our soul. We are finally able to clear through all the white noise of the idols in our lives and hear from God through the Holy Spirit. It was the same for the magi. After encountering Jesus and being moved by orchestra workings of God, they became believers, I think. They were able to hear from God when they were not able to before. The white noise of the idols in their lives was cleared away and they could hear from God.

What they heard from God was that they must not return to Jerusalem to see Herod. God likely warned them because He knew that Herod would most likely kill them for the information that they had. God had greater plans for them back home as new believers. Is this not true for us as well. After we have accepted Christ as our Savior, we cannot return to the path that brought us to the cross. We must go on a new path. We want to go on a new path. When I look back on the person I was before salvation, I don’t want to go back there. When I look at the person I was at salvation compared to the more mature Christian that I am now, I do not want to go back where I was. I think that this is the identifying mark of salvation compared to a spiritual warm fuzzy on a Sunday morning where you are emotionally moved by the music and the sermon. Being emotionally moved without life change is not salvation. When we encounter Jesus and we truly accept Him as our Savior, we know we are not the same anymore. We do, yes, have a couple of months of emotionally driven zealousness after salvation, but the fruit of salvation is when that wears off and we make both the mental and emotional choices to continue to follow Jesus and to make the tough choices about our lives and what needs to change and conform to the image of Christ. It is the Holy Spirit that spurs us to make the tough choices to change who we are. It is the Holy Spirit that changes us from the inside out in a painful and humbling process that takes a lifetime. That’s salvation. That’s turning away from my old life and seeking the new. That’s humbling desiring to be more and more like Jesus daily and acting on those ugly things about ourselves that the Holy Spirit reveals to us daily. A spiritual warm fuzzy may last a week or two and then we return to the route we came by. Same friends. Same playgrounds. Same behaviors. It is only through true salvation that we don’t see this Jesus thing as something restrictive but rather as a new way of life where everything is new. True salvation brings changes and we want the changes. True salvation shows us that the road we WERE on would have led us to destruction. True salvation shows what we have been saved from and why. We are changed forever. We cannot and do not want to go down the same old roads anymore. We are like the magi in that way. We leave after meeting Jesus and go on a new road, a different road, not the way we came.

This simple verse says volumes. We are changed by meeting Jesus. When we accept Him as our Savior we clear out all the clutter of the idols of our lives and we can begin to hear from God through the work of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that changes us from within to without, from the inside out. It is through the Holy Spirit that we change the roads that we are on. We no longer can ride the roads that we have been riding. We are changed. We want more out of life than our old life was giving us. We want to be changed. We want the new road, the different road, not the road that brought to the cross, but the new road behind the cross, in the shadow of the cross. Amen and Amen.

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