The Quest

Sometimes people spend thousands of dollars, and years of their lives and risk danger and death in pursuit of some quest.

Like the British explorer Percival Harrison Fawcett, who was obsessed with finding “the lost city of Z” in Brazil.  He enlisted his oldest son Jack and his son’s friend, and traveled hundreds of miles across the ocean, then through the jungles of Brazil.  The last communication from the expedition was on 29 May 1925, when Fawcett telegraphed his wife that the three were ready to go into unexplored territory.  Then nothing more was ever heard from them.

Most of us are familiar with the quest of the wise men from “the east” to find Jesus.

These men, most likely Persian priests who were experts in astrology, astronomy, and occult arts, had seen an astronomical phenomenon and tied it to the birth of a king like no other.  They went to great lengths and probably great expense to make the 800 mile journey to Jerusalem.  They probably traveled mostly at night over rugged desert terrain.  If they were able to travel 20 miles a day, it would have taken 40 days to make the journey.

Compare them to the religious leaders in Jerusalem.

and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, [Herod] inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’” (4-6)

When questioned by Herod, without a moment’s hesitation, the religious leaders told him the precise location where the Messiah would be born, even quoting Scripture – Bethlehem, which is about 5 miles south of Jerusalem.

What is amazing is that these Scripture quoting leaders hear that the Messiah has been born, accompanied by a miraculous heavenly star, and not one of them even bothers to make the 5 mile trip to Bethlehem to check it out.

What a contrast.  The wise men, who have very little knowledge of the true God, make a long, arduous journey to find Jesus.  Yet the religious leaders who know Scripture and all the prophecies of the Messiah can’t be bothered.

This passage challenges me.  Even as a believer I can still drift into spiritual apathy if Jesus doesn’t help me.  I need to regularly ask him to incline my heart to his word and fill me with love and passion for him.

Let’s be inspired by the example of the wise men.  God drew them first, yet they responded to God’s drawing by actively pursuing the Rewarder of those who seek him.  Let’s make this our quest – pursue, know and love Jesus with all our hearts.

photo by Raoul Pop