Many things in life seem to be unfair. Thus it is often asked: “By what measure of fairness will God condemn to everlasting punishment those who have never heard the gospel of salvation in Christ Jesus?” A rebuttal question might be,
“Did they ever seek out God and His Christ?”
Surely the evidence and cause for such seeking exist, for “the heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1), and “His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead” (Romans 1:20).
Natural law and conscience testify that things are not right between the creating, law-giving God and His sinful creatures. And while it is true that “…how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?” (Romans 10:14), it is also true that God is near to all those who would seek and find Him (Acts 17:27).
Creation as well as the dealings of God in history bear witness that He is good. That alone should prompt all people to grope for God. The problem is never lack of knowledge, but how knowledge is used and misused. Thus the question: How many actually seek the Christ?
The traditional Epiphany account concerns certain men from the East who definitely sought out the Christ. They saw how the heavens declared both His glory and His earthly presence by a special star. By listening to and following that “preacher,” they found the Anointed King who had come to save them from their sins and rule in their hearts. They worshipped Him and brought Him gifts.
They were truly wise men.
Consider that their searching involved some real effort and even danger. It is highly probable that these men were Gentiles, outside the family of God’s Old Testament people, and they enjoyed none of the advantages the Jews had. Yet they sought the new-born King of the Jews as if He were their own.
The Magi sought Christ despite distance and physical challenges. Artists depict them as riding on camels, and perhaps it was so. Their journey involved hundreds of miles, many days, a detour, heat, sweat, sand, bugs, and everything disagreeable associated with ancient travel. Nothing was easy or convenient, yet they turned not aside in their quest.
The Magi were educated ‘wise men,’ but they didn’t allow their education, worldly knowledge, and human reason to hinder their seeking. They had the ability to look high into the heavens but were not too proud to humbly bow down before the Star of Jacob. They examined the stars, identified a special one, and then used revelation and logical conclusion—not to debunk or decry this special sign but to understand and follow it to their destiny.
These men sought the Christ despite enemies and scoffers. No doubt they braved brigands and cutthroats along the way. Matthew does not identify their native country, but surely it had its own false religions and pantheon of gods. They exposed themselves to ridicule just for making the trip, as Noah must have been ridiculed for engaging in a project his neighbors scorned as half-baked at best. Perhaps they were even accused of treason for seeking a foreign Jewish king. But the Magi sought…they found…they confessed.
How wise and blessed they were, for in Paradise the King will confess them.
Are we seeking the Christ in the same dedicated way as did the Magi? We also are Gentiles, but the gospel doors have been mercifully opened to us. And while we have fallen short of the glory of God, there is no difference, for God so loved the world. Jesus redeemed and atoned for the sins of the world. For Jesus’ sake the Father justified the whole world of sinners.
People used to walk in order to worship the King. Then they rode on animals and in buggies. Modern cars are like living rooms on wheels, with hardly a hint of discomfort. What is our excuse for not seeking the King and His righteousness in public worship?
Some parents may question the wisdom of higher education, fearing their children will be enticed, re-educated, and lose their Christian faith. Granted, it is a danger, but ‘we walk in danger all the way,’ not just for four years. Reason and education are not necessarily the enemies of God, but how many students continue to seek the Christ while they are attending school? They should, for after all, “in Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).
The culture in which we live increasingly mocks Christ and His people. Pundits suggest that Christian ‘hicks’ should not be allowed to vote, for they are a danger to society. False religions abound. Thus seeking Christ will involve tribulation (as Jesus foretold), yet by seeking and following Him true Christians learn to know the truth. And that truth in Christ Jesus will set them free from sin, Satan, death, and eventually all tribulation and sorrow.
Are we seeking the Christ by scanning the heavens for a special sign? While that was appropriate for the Magi and even the shepherds, we have the star of God’s Word, which is true, bright, holy, effective, sufficient, complete, and shines from the heart of God. Its prophecies point to Christ. Its testimonies declare that He is the crucified and risen Son of God and Savior of the world. In that beautiful Morning Star (Revelation 22:16) we behold the very glory of God and bask
in His grace.
So, make the journey–daily and weekly! Give it some effort and sacrifice. Bend your knees; offer your gifts of thanksgiving and faith. Wise and blessed are they who seek the Bright and Morning Star—who trust the Star, worship the Star, and keep His radiant Word. Then in the third heaven we shall surely see, face to face, His shining countenance.