Coming to Meet Jesus
Yesterday my mom and I started to send each other Christmas song titles only using Emojis, and it was much too fun! (#🤓 ). Can you guess the ones below? For bonus points, think about what all these songs have in common!
The answers are at the bottom of the article, and the common thread of the songs is that they are all about coming to see Jesus.
As I reflected on the Christmas story this year, I was struck by the interesting––and truthfully, peculiar––audience who had the privilege of first meeting Christ the Messiah. Why did God invite these specific individuals, and what can they teach us about coming to Jesus? Let’s look at some of the nativity narrative characters:
The Wise Men
These men were “from the East” (not of Jewish descent) and studied magic, astrology and interpretations from a variety of religions. They were not your A+ Sunday school students by any means! But they were seeking.
I think it’s interesting that we don’t know the end of the story. I would like to think the wise men learned more about Jesus and chose to believe that He was God’s Messiah, sent to redeem the world. However, they also could’ve just labeled their journey as an “interesting experience” and tossed Jesus in a pile with other religious figures. The important takeaway is that these foreigners who were not Hebrews were invited to meet Jesus and see for themselves who He is.
Another group of people who were invited to meet Jesus were the shepherds, who were taking care of their flocks in an area near Bethlehem. When an angel of the Lord appeared to them, what was their first reaction? Fear! And understandably so. A messenger of God––in all God’s shining glory––had just burst in and interrupted their everyday, familiar routine. Did the shepherds fully grasp that this baby in a manger was God himself? Sent to save the world? Probably not. BUT, God invited them to meet Jesus, and they came.
After they visited Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the Bible says “the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them” (Lk. 2:20, emphasis mine). They didn’t know for sure that when they followed this bright light in the sky, it would lead them to Christ. Instead of thinking over all of the reasons to doubt what the angel of God had said, they went in faith and found everything just as God said. His word was truth.
There are countless other people in the Bible who followed Jesus without understanding everything up front. Did Mary and Joseph grasp the full identity of their Son and His mission on earth? Probably not. What about Peter, the disciple whom Jesus said would be the rock upon which He could build the church? Peter certainly didn’t understand all that was involved in following Jesus, and he definitely made some major mistakes (Mt. 16:23, Lk. 22:54-62). But he followed Jesus anyway.
What about us?
Sometimes I think we feel pressured to have it all together before we say “yes” to following Jesus. Maybe you would like to study the Bible, but you have no idea where to start, and you can already think of certain passages that will be confusing. It’s easier to sit back in the shadows than to try and possibly fail.
Maybe there’s someone who you’ve been wanted to reach out to and ask about their relationship with God. But when you think about starting that conversation, there are so many things that could go wrong. You don’t want to offend them, and you’re afraid you might not have the right answer to their questions, so it’s safer to say nothing and hope that someone else will do the job.
I’m not presenting these as hypothetical situations; I’ve been here myself, and I think that many of you can relate. The point is that Jesus has invited us to come see who He is.
He calls us to follow Him in obedience and in faith, but NOT in perfection.
You don’t have to know it all before you accept His invitation. Just come as you are, and tell Him that you want to know Him more, because Jesus comes in grace and truth (Jn. 1:17). And like the shepherds, I hope you will return “glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” Merry Christmas!
Answers: 1. We Three Kings 2. Little Drummer Boy 3. O Come, All Ye Faithful 4. Do You Hear What I Hear?