Ron Graham was called home on March 14, 2013. He began writing this commentary before his death and had asked me, Nathele Graham, to continue his service to our Lord by finishing what he began.
When Jesus walked on this earth many people looked for Him. Each had their own reasons for seeking Him, and many are similar to our own reasons today.
“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem” (Matthew 2:1).
These men were indeed wise; they were seeking the Jesus. These men came from the east and were Gentiles. They followed a star that they knew was a sign that the King of the Jews had been born. According to Bible scholars these men were part of a sect that had been established by Daniel who had taught them about the coming Jewish Messiah and when He was to come. They followed the star for a great distance and came to Jerusalem and talked with Herod:
“Saying, ‘Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him’” (Matthew 2:2).
The wise men came seeking Jesus to worship Him.
Many people today are seeking something…some way to reach utopia or some easy way to become one with the universe. What a sad comment on humanity. The wise men took a long and difficult journey to find and worship the Jewish King, but many people today are blind to the truth. Jesus Christ is our Savior and the only way to spend eternity in heaven. Utopia and becoming one with the universe are lies that Satan spreads and gullible people buy into. Like the wise men we need to seek Jesus and worship Him.
Herod didn’t know where this new King was, but he knew who to ask.
“When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born” (Matthew 2:4).
Herod was troubled. This new King could be a threat to his own status and he needed to get rid of Him. So, he called together the chief priests and scribes to ask where Christ was to be born. These men should have already been aware of the Jewish Messiah and seeking Him with joy. They weren’t. Still they knew where to find the answers. Ancient prophecies told that Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem. So, the wise men were sent on their way to seek Jesus and worship him
The chief priests and scribes knew where to look for answers, but they were comfortable in their life. When prophecy was fulfilled in their lifetime they weren’t looking for it. Many Christians today are comfortable with life as it always has been and don’t see prophecy being fulfilled all around them. There seems to be an attitude that prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus was born in Bethlehem and in the future prophecy will be fulfilled again, but that is for another generation to think about. After all, studying prophecy is confusing.
Are we really supposed to understand it? If God didn’t want us to understand, why is there so much prophecy in the Bible? It’s found in most of the Scriptures, even in books in the Bible that aren’t considered prophetic. Jesus tells of the end times in the Olivet Discourse. Paul talks about the future, and the entire book of Revelation is prophecy so why would anyone think God doesn’t want us to study prophecy?
We may not understand it one-hundred percent but we still need to study and understand what we can. To study prophecy is to seek Jesus. He will call us Home one day in the Rapture so we need to be eagerly seeking Him and listen for His call.
Herod told the wise men to return and tell him where the child was, but God warned them not to go back to Herod.
“Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men” (Matthew 2:16).
Herod sent his soldiers to seek Jesus and kill Him. All children two years old and younger were to be slaughtered to ensure the King of the Jews was killed. Yes, that was foretold in prophecy:
“Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted because they are not” (Matthew 2:17-18).
An angel had warned Joseph in a dream to take Jesus and His mother to Egypt to escape from Herod’s wrath:
“And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son” (Matthew 2:15).
Once again prophecy was fulfilled.
There are many people today who seek Jesus, but not to worship Him. They seek Him to try to destroy Him. He threatens their lifestyle. Herod was afraid that his rule in Israel would be destroyed by Jesus; he thought if he killed Jesus he would be safe.
Today there are people who would like to destroy Jesus because they love their sin more. “I am happy being homosexual” or “I like alcohol and don’t want Christians stopping me.” These people would rather attempt to kill Jesus rather than give up their sin.
Life in this world is temporary, but life after death is eternal.
“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
Only Christ can make life satisfying. “…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10b).
When Jesus was twelve years old He went with His earthly parents, to Jerusalem:
“Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast” (Luke 2:41-42).
Many Jews were in Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of the Passover and there was much activity. When it was time to return home, Joseph and Mary weren’t paying attention. They were busy with their friends and their minds weren’t on Jesus.
“And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance” (Luke 2:43-44).
It is easy to lose sight of Jesus if you’re not paying attention. Of all people who should have kept their eyes on Jesus it should have been Joseph and Mary. They knew who He was. When they realized they lost Him they began to seek Him.
“And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him” (Luke 2:45).
After three days they found Him in the temple where He was sitting with the Jewish teachers who were impressed with Him.
“And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing” (Luke 2:48).
Mary blamed Jesus for their worry, but the truth is they had taken their eyes off of Him.
“And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them” (Luke 2:49-50.)
Were they seeking the Christ? No, they were looking for their son, not the Son of God.
How many times do we take our eyes off of Jesus and go our own way having a great time but not paying attention to Jesus. Even if we are with fellow Christians we can get lost if we ignore Christ. Joseph and Mary were traveling with other Jews who had been to Jerusalem for religious reasons. Instead of keeping their eyes on Jesus they became distracted and assumed He would be there. Then, they blamed Him for their error. Christians need to always keep our eyes and hearts on Jesus so we don’t go astray.
At the time Jesus entered His creation, Jews were looking for their Messiah. It seems that everyone was seeking the Messiah and false ones popped up everywhere. Into this confusion came John the Baptist. He did not claim to be the Messiah, but he did have followers. Among those who followed him were two men who sought the Messiah. When John pronounced Jesus was the Lamb of God, these two men left John and followed Jesus. They spent time with Jesus talking and learning and they were excited. Andrew was one of the men and he just had to share the news.
“He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah, which is being interpreted, the Christ” (John 1:41).
Andrew was seeking the true Messiah and found Him. Then he shared the good news!
Christian, whether you have just met Jesus or you have known Him for years, remember to seek Christ always and share Him with others. Andrew and Peter followed Christ throughout His ministry on earth. They sought answers to questions they had, they learned from Him, and they saw His miracles. Because they sought truth and recognized it when they found it, we have eyewitness accounts of the life of Jesus. Each one of us has a testimony to share; we are eyewitnesses to what Christ has done in our own life.
That testimony needs to be used for Christ’s glory. Andrew shared with his brother Peter, and from what we know about Peter that could have been quite a challenge. Peter often times acted on emotion, but Andrew didn’t let that stop him. Andrew, Peter, James, John, and others followed Jesus. Because of their bold witness we know Jesus today. Share with your brother, sister, aunt, father, or friend. Everyone needs to know Jesus today, before it is too late.
Many people came seeking Jesus during His ministry on earth. The angel told the shepherds they would find Him in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes (Luke 2:12), Nicodemus went to Him for answers (John chapter 3), in Capernaum a centurion came and asked Him to heal a servant (Matthew 8:5), and the list goes on. During His ministry on earth He touched many lives, healed many people, and drew crowds everywhere He went.
People sought Him. The Pharisees also sought Him…they wanted to kill Him. They could not do that until Jesus Himself allowed it. When the time was right, He laid down His life. He willingly went to the cross and was crucified. He died, was buried, but victory came on the third day! Jesus Christ, Lord of lords and King of kings, left an empty tomb. His death was not understood by those who knew Him best and it took a while for the truth to be realized.
When they took His body down from the cross it had to be hurriedly placed in a tomb. They were unable to properly treat His body and it would be three days before a handful of women were able to make their way to the tomb with fragrant oils and spices to prepare the body.
“In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher” (Matthew 28:1).
These women had come seeking the dead body of Jesus but they were met by an angel.
“And the angel answered and said unto the women, ‘Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay’” ( Matthew 28:5-6).
The news was astonishing and confusing. Can you imagine their joy? Christ, whom they assumed was dead, had risen! He conquered death. The women ran and told the disciples who came running to see for themselves. Mary Magdalene stood outside and wept. It wasn’t that tears just trickled down her cheeks. She was lamenting the death of her friend and the disappearance of His body; she was sobbing. Through her tears she saw someone near:
“Jesus saith unto her, ‘Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou?’ She, supposing him to be the gardener saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away” (John 20:15).
She didn’t recognize Him through her tears. She understood Jesus had died on the cross.
“Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master” (John 20:16).
Jesus called her by name and she recognized Him. How about you? When Jesus calls you by name, and He will, what will your reaction be? Mary’s reaction was recognition, joy, and love.
Are you seeking Jesus? Who are you looking for? If you are a wise man you will seek Him to worship. If you are like Herod and the Pharisees He will be a threat to you and you will try to eliminate Him. If you are like Andrew you have searched for Him, found Messiah, and are sharing the news. Are you like Mary Magdalene who went to find a dead body, but found the living Savior?
Jesus is not still hanging on the cross nor is He in the tomb. He is alive! If you claim to be His follower, don’t take your eyes off of Him; don’t be distracted by the world as Joseph and Mary. If you don’t know Him then today is the day to meet Him. Everyone will live eternally, but only those who have accepted Christ as their personal Savior will spend eternity with Him in heaven. Seek Him today, you won’t regret it tomorrow.
God bless you all,