Devotional Passage: Matthew 2:1-2
Read Matthew 2:1-2. These guys lived in a very different culture than the one we find ourselves in. But despite this fact, we can learn a lot from their example. Especially as we consider the information-rich society we currently live in, where “facts” and “faith” are so often pitted against one another.
We think these men came from somewhere in what was formerly the Babylonian Empire. If this is true, they probably gathered their knowledge of God from the Jewish people’s exile in Babylon. The wise man were students of astrology as well as other mystical teachings from multiple cultures. And they also possessed knowledge of world religions, such as their knowledge of God. They would have had a knowledge of the Hebrew God among their knowledge of many other culture’s gods. This is the backdrop upon which the wise man processed the sign they saw in the sky.
When the wise men saw an unusual stellar occurrence, recorded in verse 2, they recognized it for what it was: the hand of someone mighty. If it’s true that these mystics had a knowledge of God, then it’s possible they knew the Old Testament prophecies relating to the coming of a Messiah. But knowing and acting are two different things. And that is what we can learn from these wise men.
These mystics saw the evidence and acted upon it. Their faith may or may not have turned into a saving faith in God. However, they expressed a faith that wasn’t frustrated by their intellectuality. Quite the opposite. Their knowledge fueled their faith. Their deep understanding compelled them to act. Theirs was a seeking faith!
For so many in our culture, and maybe for you, our perceived “knowledge” can sometimes be a barrier to our faith. The wise men serve as a wonderful example that this never has to be the case.
Think about this:
• Why do you think our culture makes such a strong distinction between “fact” and “faith”? Do you believe the two are incompatible? Or do you think there is room for harmony between the two?
• How do you deal with your questions and doubts? Have you ever been uneasy about owning them? What keeps you from taking your questions to God and seeking an answer?