by Jill Lienemann, Kesher International Missions | ©2013
“When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’” Then Herod called the Magi secretly and…He sent them to Bethlehem.” (Matthew 2:3-8a NKJV)
The Magi’s presence caused quite stir among the citizens of Jerusalem. Very possibly, the wise men would not have traveled alone on the long distance from their homeland to Israel. They would have been accompanied by servants to attend to their personal needs and military escorts for protection against potential hostile tribes encountered on the expedition. Entering the city, the caravan and their entourage would have brought much curiosity from the Jerusalem citizens.
Attention will naturally be drawn to your mission group as you travel together. They way you are dressed, especially if you are wearing the same team t-shirts, will stand out among the crowd. If you are going to a foreign country, the color of your skin and eyes as well as your speech will be noticeably different. Along the way and at your final destination, use this opportunity to explain the purpose of your journey to those who inquire. “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season.” (2 Timothy 4:2 NKJV)
“…A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel…” (Numbers 24:7b NKJV) Drawing from their understanding of the Scriptures, the Magi followed the star to the nation of Israel but needed further assistance to find the exact location of the king of the Jews. Arriving in Jerusalem, the capital city and location of the Temple, they felt certain that the people in this metropolis would know the address for the royal child. In the process of asking around, they came to the attention of the political official who consulted with the religious council. The wise men were then directed to the town of Bethlehem.
You may encounter the same situation on your mission trip. As you enter a particular village and begin asking questions, the tribal chief may summon you in order to discover your purpose. He may confer with the local religious leader to determine if you may stay in the town. It is even possible that you will be forced to go to another location. Recognize that this redirection is still part of God’s strategy. “…‘My plan will be realized, I will accomplish what I desire,’ who summons…from a distant land, one who carries out my plan. Yes, I have decreed, yes, I will bring it to pass; I have formulated a plan, yes, I will carry it out.” (Isaiah 46:10b-11 NET)
KESHER PRAYER (connection): Jesus, your birth brought scrutiny from the world’s inhabitants. As your ambassador sharing the message of reconciliation to God (2 Corinthians 5:20-21), even now I experience the same examination. Though I may be hated and/or persecuted because of your name, I will finish the ministry the Father has set in place for me on this mission trip in whatever location He has purposed (Matthew 10:22-23). “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18 NKJV) Amen!