In His Presence: The Lesson of the Magi

Experience the Presence of God this Christmas

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’ When Herod heard this, he was troubled and all of Jerusalem with him…When they [Magi] had heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them till it came and stood over where the young Child was…Then being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.” Matthew 2: 2-3, 9. 12.

Christmas always reminds us of God’s goodness and love, and it invites us to come closer to Him. The Magi must have felt a similar calling because it made them travel thousands of miles in search of the Christ Child. And once they found Him, they knew they would never be the same again. Seeking the Lord’s presence is a lesson for all of us.

The book of Matthew is the only book in the Bible that tells us anything about these wise men. Whether they were actually wise or even kings is unknown, but we do know that they were Magi, short for magician or sometimes astrologer. They were from a foreign country, possibly Persia/modern-day Iraq, which means not only did they come from very far away, they were also Gentiles, not Jews.

Yet, these Gentiles were the only ones who were paying attention to the signs of heaven as they had been prophesized by Isaiah (40:3). They had been studying year after year, and they had full knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures dating back to the time of Daniel. In short, they had been watching and waiting for a very long time. So when they saw the bright star in the sky, they knew the time had come. They loaded up their camels and headed to Israel.

The Presence of Jesus Changes You

What must it have been like for the Magi, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, to finally find Mary and Joseph and see the promised Messiah with their own eyes? One can only imagine the joy at seeing God’s word fulfilled in flesh and blood. Surely, it was beautiful.

But notice in Matthew 2:12, when it was time to go, the Magi did not go back the same way they had arrived. In a practical sense, they could not or else King Herod would kill them. But in a spiritual sense, perhaps they did not want to anyway. They had just spent time with Jesus and His family, in the very presence of God, worshipping, fellowshipping, and experiencing the His glory in person. It was the closest they could get to heaven while still on earth.

For anyone who has experienced the love of God, they can tell you that being in the presence of Jesus completely changes you. There is nothing else on earth like it. When you are with the Lord, there is freedom, peace, and joy that you never knew existed. It is what makes us finally decide that the way we were doing things was way off-course, and we surrender our hearts to God knowing that His way is better. This promise of salvation is summed up in John 3:16.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” NKJV

You are never the same after being in Jesus's presence and experiencing His love.

When we let that love penetrate our hearts, when we truly experience an intimate connection with God, we can begin to understand what it means to be a new creation in Christ. The old you is gone. You become a new and better version of yourself all because you came into the Lord’s presence, and you realize you cannot go back home the same way you came. Everything is different now, and it is wonderful.

This must have been true for the Magi too. Perhaps they knew who Jesus really was before they got to Bethlehem. Maybe they knew Him in an academic or political sense, or even in a religious sense because of the prophecy. But surely all they knew or expected dramatically changed once they stood in the Lord’s presence.

In His Presence There is Love

Whatever the Magi were expecting must have changed in an instant.

God’s love envelopes you, surrounds you, penetrates you. He welcomes you and makes you feel warm and loved. His grace is consuming, and you hunger more for His touch. As your faith grows, your relationship with Him grows deeper and more intimate. You begin to feel Him living and moving in your heart just at the mention of His Son’s name- Jesus. It stirs you, excites you, and gives you peace all at the same time.

There is power in His name. There is joy, hope, and love in His presence.

We cannot physically stand in the same room with Jesus today. But we can still be in His presence just by calling out to Him, surrendering our hearts and pride, and letting Him into our lives by accepting His gift of grace, love, and forgiveness.

This Christmas, whatever you think you know about Jesus or the Christmas story, I invite you to come and experience Jesus first-hand and see how wonderful He truly is. Come and feel His amazing love for you. A love so strong He willingly endured torture and death on a cross to free you from sin and save you from the eternal pit of Hell. Come and let Him put His mighty arms around you. Feel His strength and protection over you. Let His comfort and healing bring you relief in your circumstances.

It is so amazing when you experience Jesus. I promise you, when you do, you will completely understand what it meant for the Magi to go home a different way. Because you won’t either.

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4 Replies to “In His Presence: The Lesson of the Magi”

  1. I think it’s appropriate that we have Christmas right before the new year. Like those seeking to see the Savior we prepare to celebrate Him each year. It should be a time of renewing our hope, joy, and faith. Then we can begin the New Year taking a new path then the year before, just as the Maji took a different path. Having the Lord in our life leads us down new and unexpected paths.

    • I couldn’t agree more, Katharine. I like your thought about how going a different way also means beginning a new year on a different, more positive path. Thank you for that blessing.