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The room was dark. I rolled over on my mat, but the moaning, the breathing, the smell of humanity packed into this small room was too much for me. Here we were, descendants of a great king and now we had descended to this new low. Herded like cattle to be counted by some ruthless ruler.

“At least I didn’t have to opt for a stable,” I thought as I lay on my back and stared into the darkness. It seemed heartless, yet somehow humane for the innkeeper to send that young couple to his stable. Afterall, she was pregnant and looked like the baby could come at any moment. At least they had a roof over their heads.

I lay there in that packed room, remembering the fatigue, the tired eyes in the faces of that young couple. I was sure they had traveled far, like all of us, to be counted.

“To be counted,” I whispered to my self, letting the words escape my mouth with my breath. I just wanted to matter to someone; we all wanted to matter. I just wanted to be hopeful for something better.

I closed my eyes and tried to sleep amidst the groaning humanity that surrounded me. We were all packed into this small inn, brought together by fear of a king we did not believe in. At that moment I heard the faint cry of a baby. “It must be that young couple,” I thought. It bothered me that this child was born in a stable, yet I smiled at the thought of new life. In this, the least of all places, there was hope.

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” – Micah 5:2

#WednesdayWalk Through the Bible — an exploration of what unknown people might have seen or felt when they witnessed the events in the Bible. This post is from the perspective of someone in the inn near the stable where Jesus was born as told in Luke 2:1-7 (NASB).

© 2019 CGThelen

The Journey of the Magi Concludes, Part 9

Matt. 2:12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

The magi expressed their faith with their journey. Their physical journey ended when they saw Christ, the new-born King. But their faith journey continues. The magi do not listen to King Herod. Instead they listen to God and return home a different way. We can only guess what their life was like after this encounter. It would seem that an encounter with Christ would change their lives forever.

This Christmas, what is your faith journey? Are you on a journey to Bethlehem or are you stuck in Jerusalem. Will you follow the magi to pursue the Messiah to seek Jesus Christ? What are you willing to sacrifice? What is your desire to put your faith into action? Do you fear God more than men? How generous are you? Are you willing to humble yourself before Christ?

King Herod and all of Jerusalem missed out on seeing the new-born King. Don’t let this Christmas pass without seeing Christ.

Originally published Dec. 23, 2010.

© 2010 CGThelen

The Journey of the Magi  Part 7

Matt. 2:9-10 After they had heard from the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.

Again, take note that the star goes ahead of the magi and stops over where the new-born king lays in a manger. The magi do not see the star as they leave Jerusalem, they see it after they “went on their way.” They are overjoyed to see the star again.

Stop and ponder this moment. The magi were smart men. It’s likely they wondered if they could trust Herod, yet they took what he said, perhaps as another sign from God, and headed for Bethlehem. The star was not visible at that point, yet they head toward Bethlehem. That is why they are overjoyed to see the star again. The star confirmed they were going in the right direction. God demonstrates his authority by using Herod to give the magi direction.

It’s a sad commentary on Israel that the star was not visible in Jerusalem. The star that pointed to the Messiah was not visible in the very place where God once dwelt in the Temple. They knew the scripture and the prophesy, but missed the moment. It took men from a far off land to spread the news to all Jerusalem that the Messiah has been born.

Yet all Jerusalem ignores this message from God. The magi leave Jerusalem alone. No one joined them on the journey. Sometimes we can feel like the people in Jerusalem. We’re surrounded by a materialistic Christmas; we’re familiar with the scripture about the birth of our Savior; yet we choose to remain in Jerusalem and miss the true Christmas.

The difference between Jerusalem and Bethlehem is whether we live out our faith. Are we willing to sacrifice as the magi did to pursue the Messiah? Are we willing to act on our faith and pursue our faith without fear of man? Just look at the attitude of the magi. After traveling hundreds of miles for months, they are overjoyed to see the star again. They are filled with anticipation as they prepare to see the Messiah they have traveled so far to see.

Next Post: Meeting Jesus Face-to-face

Originally published Dec. 19, 2010.

© 2010 CGThelen

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