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“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote: Matthew 2:5 (NLT)

When the Magi came to Jerusalem looking for the new King, we are told that all Jerusalem was in an uproar over their question. By now Jesus was perhaps two years old. The rumors about the baby in the manger had most likely died away. After all, even back in Biblical days the idea of a Messiah being born in a manger, of angels singing to a bunch of neighbors, and the young mother being an unmarried teenager from the small, obscure hamlet of Nazareth seemed pretty preposterous.

When Herod came to the priests to seek an answer to the Magi’s question they were quick to quote scripture to him. They knew full well that location of the birth a new King. It was spelled out clearly by the prophecy in Micah as well as by other prophets. The signs were there.

Jesus would say later in his ministry, when asked about his return, to watch for the signs. Dates and times weren’t for us to know. When buds form on trees and flowers push through the hard ground of winter you know spring is coming. When you see wars, rumors of war, political and relational turmoil, an increase in sin and other abominations, you know I’m coming back.

In the same way, there were many signs that the coming of the Messiah was close. Who knows but that there were many babies born around Jesus time in which people asked: “Is this him? Could this be Messiah? It had been 400 years since there were any prophecies spoken. Four hundred years of silence by God, four hundred years of waiting by the people. Four hundred years to grow complacent and skeptical.

Did they see the star as well and choose to ignore it? Did they hear the rumors and spend their time determining why this could not be the way God would do things? Did their skepticism keep them from seeing the ‘handwriting on the wall’?

Dead faith is faith in which we refuse to look at the answers. We see the truth and decide to follow only those that don’t interfere with our own plans, our own ambitions, our own interpretation and determination of how God works. Dead faith is unable to see God’s handiwork because we are blinded by our own ideas, our own traditions, our own determination of God’s ability to fulfill his promises.

Dead faith is religion. We aren’t called to follow religious dogmas. We are called to relationship with a living Savior. Dead faith follows an unapproachable God. Relationship can only happen with a  living being. Our God is not dead or unapproachable.

Not a single priest offered to go check out the story the Magi told them. Not a single religious leader took enough interest in their story to see if maybe, just maybe it really was the Messiah. It simply wasn’t important enough to them. It wasn’t worth their time.

PRAYER: Father, you show us on a daily basis, through your Word and your Spirit, how we should live. May we never be guilty of ignoring the ‘stars’ the signs in our lives. Help us to see you clearly and act on what we know. Amen.

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December 2012
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