After going through the nativity story with our kids, in Scripture, I remained on the ‘wise men’ (in my thinking).
Scripture tells us that these wise men (we are never told how many) followed a star, found Jesus… and what did they do upon seeing him? Before offering selective gifts they bowed down.
Matthew 2:11 states: “And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”
If you look at this verse from the Greek, you see that what it means is this: “and they fell down and prostrated themselves before him.” So really – it’s less accurate to say that they bowed down and more accurate to say that they fell flat out on the ground in a prostate position of complete submission and humility. They face-planted it.
I have been thinking about this quite a bit, in light of the fact that I have 4 children of my own. The idea that someone would follow a star in order to find a baby, to fall flat on the ground before him, is quite preposterous. A baby is dependent on the grown-ups! Not the other way around! Who, in their right mind, would hurl themselves to the ground in order to bow before an infant? People, back then, would sometimes bow to those in authority positions: like kings. But to a baby? A newborn? It’s ridiculous.
I’ve often heard people refer to the multitude of angels that praised: that’s wonderful and special! In my mind, that’s less awe inspiring than what those wise men did. What’s out of the ordinary, in my mind, is the idea that grown men would fall to the ground before an infant who could neither walk, nor talk, nor rule, nor reign.
How absolutely absurd would you feel crouching to a baby as though he were God? I would feel like a fool. If Rick saw me do it, he’d think I’d lost it for good and he’d encourage me to seek professional help. And yet these wise men did just that: they crouched, as though to God Himself!
Because they knew.
He. Is. The. One.
He, this newborn in-the-flesh-deity, was the one to submit to – to lower themselves to. Only the spirit of God could have revealed such a thing. And to think they listened and obeyed!
Oh… to be so wise.
May it be for us as it was for the wise, wise men. When the spirit of God reveals truth, may our ears be open to hear and our hearts be responsive to obey. May our feet take us where the spirit leads and may our bodies respond when the spirit of God brings us low and calls us to submit.