I reached in my pocket to find them and they weren’t there. Where could I have left those keys?
I traced my way back to the counter and to the key ring. Nothing was there. They weren’t on the bathroom counter or in the closet in the bed room. The keys weren’t on the desk in the office.
And, now, I’m feeling more frantic. My heart starts to beat a little faster. That little voice in my head kicks in and I’m trying to think through a thousand scenarios. Did someone break into the house last night and take my keys?
There’s nothing left to do. I have to turn this house over. Look under every cushion, under every chair. I might even have to call in reinforcements.
I must find those keys!
And after what seems like hours (but probably only minutes), I find the keys sitting in the same spot I left them the night before.
My keys were lost but now they are found.
Have you ever searched for anything in desperation?
Maybe it was for your keys, your wallet or your phone. Maybe it was the search for the destination you are trying to reach. Maybe it’s the search for an answer, a cure. Maybe, you’re trying to find yourself.
Have you searched for anything in desperation?
I think that God understands us so well when it comes to desperate searches. Scripture is filled with references to searches. And, Jesus likes to talk about searches in his teaching and his parables.
Some of those references include:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7
There’s a story about a shepherd who leaves 99 perfectly good sheep to go out and search desperately for the one that is lost. And when that one is found, a celebration!
- Or there’s this woman that loses a quarter and tears her home apart in desperation to find it. And when she does? She celebrates for she has found her quarter.
It seems that at the very basic level of our hearts, we’re born with a GPS of sorts that is constantly pushing us to search for something bigger than ourselves. And we have an ultimate destination.
At the heart of the Christmas story is a search. And that search hits its peak with the arrival of the Magi, the wise men, who are on a desperate search for a king. Here’s the account from Matthew 2:1-12:
1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the territory of Judea during the rule of King Herod, magi came from the east to Jerusalem. 2 They asked, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We’ve seen his star in the east, and we’ve come to honor him.”
The visitors are magi or wisemen and this is a term that is used to describe teachers, priests, magicians, seers or astrologers. They probably are astronomers since they are looking at stars.
They arrive in Bethelehm sometime after the birth of Jesus, according to the verse. But, how long after? Based on Herod’s reaction in scripture – to kill the first born sons in Bethlehem who are two years and younger – we can guess that Jesus is somewhere between birth and two years old at the time the Magi arrive.
But they have seen a star. Stars and appearances in the sky were often associated with the birth of kings. It seems as if these magi might have had an understanding of the prophets, but an incomplete understanding. They end up in Jerusalem looking for a king.
3 When King Herod heard this, he was troubled, and everyone in Jerusalem was troubled with him. 4 He gathered all the chief priests and the legal experts and asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They said, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what the prophet wrote:
6 You, Bethlehem, land of Judah, by no means are you least among the rulers of Judah, because from you will come one who governs, who will shepherd my people Israel.”
Can you imagine what that would be like for Herod to hear? He’s the king, but these visitors say they are here to see the new “King of the Jews.” It puts Herod and his closest associates in a panic to the point that Herod calls his priests and scribes together to figure out what’s going on.
Unlike the Magi, they have a complete copy of the law and they realize that there’s this reference to the town of Bethlehem – a smaller town some six miles away from Jerusalem.
7 Then Herod secretly called for the magi and found out from them the time when the star had first appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you’ve found him, report to me so that I too may go and honor him.”
The Magi are very open about what they’re doing and why there are in Jerusalem. But , what about Herod? Herod likes doing things in secret. So when you find this new king, why don’t you come back and let me know so I can go and honor him too?
9 When they heard the king, they went; and look, the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stood over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy. 11 They entered the house and saw the child with Mary his mother. Falling to their knees, they honored him. Then they opened their treasure chests and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 Because they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back to their own country by another route.
The arrival of Jesus reveals the true nature of King Herod and of the Magi.
- King Herod. He has all of the tools to be able to read the signs including priests and scholars who can interpret what happened. Yet, his reaction is one of anger, suspicion and paranoia. He wants to find this child and, ultimately, he is very brutal in his efforts to do this. Ultimately, a lot of hearts are pierced in his effort to hold onto his own power at any cost. And sometime between the time that Jesus is 4 and 6, Herod’s life comes to an end.
- The Magi. They are teachers from a foreign land with an incomplete story on his birth really means. They risk everything and travel a great distance to visit a king that is not even their own. They end up in the house where Mary and Joseph are living and their reaction is to fall to their knees in front of a toddler and worship. They bring gifts that just aren’t practical for someone so young — gold, frankincense and myrrh. At the end of this encounter, they receive a message from an angel, in a dream and they return home a different way.
What does this passage say to us about who we are, about who God is, about what Jesus does, and the way we react?
Like the Magi, we are all searching for a king. It’s a part of who we are. And sometimes, we react against that GPS in us. We seek to make other things, lesser things, unworthy things as the king. Some of the things we crown as our king are no better than Herod. But ultimately, we are hardwired to seek the king who arrived in a manger.
Like the magi, there’s a response of the heart when we finally find that king we’ve been searching for all along. We call it worship. It’s when we enter into Jesus’ presence, open ourselves up and give of ourselves. The magi give expensive gifts to this child – they don’t hold back! Our reaction to finding Jesus is no less than that – we are to give all without holding back.
Like the Magi, when we encounter this king Jesus we are ultimately changed. Life is never going to be the same again. When they left, they went home a different way. We too, after an encounter with Jesus, go home a different way.
For the searcher in all of us, this is our story. We are seeking the true king, the one who loves us and transforms us and changes the very direction of our lives. We, some 2000 years later are still desperately seeking our savior and king!
And the good news is that he is here and he has been waiting for you.
A new year and a new opportunity awaits us and it can be a transforming year in our lives. With that change in years, many people are making resolutions and seeking ways to change something as 2017 begins.
But, what if we could “resolve” our search for a king in this new year? What would your life look like, beginning today, if your search ended at the feet of Jesus and you offered yourself and your gifts and all that you are to serve him?
What if you could find what you are desperately searching for?
ReigniteMyStory.com is based on the idea that every life story can be reignited when we reset it, renew it and redeem it. You can contact me with ideas, questions or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org or by following me on Twitter at @reignitemystory.