2:2,8,10-11,16 - Worship Him
Have you ever thought much about worship? Worship, since - what? - the 80’s or so, has increasingly become the Christian catchword of a generation. We want to worship. That means we get a band together until they are good (or not so much) and we play music to sing songs to or about God (Father, Son & Holy Spirit). We say, “I love you”, sometimes passionately. We might should out praise, or fall on our face. We might lift our hands or quietly bow our knee and say, “I worship you, Lord!”. And, of course, we really mean it. Or some of us do. Some not so much. Some not at all.
In the unfolding story of Jesus’ infancy, there is the introduction of the concept of “worship.” He is a King. He is to be worshipped. It’s as if it is a natural concept to everybody around him. Wise men come from a far place to bring gifts and to “worship” the king of the Jews. It is quite apparent from the tone and context, that they were expectant. They very likely thought they could just walk in and ask around and everybody would be in a high state, celebrating this new king who was to be a great ruler of the Jewish people (and by some traditions a world ruler - Suetonius & Tacitus by Brown’s account bear witness to this expectation in the Gentile community). Imagine their reaction when nobody seemed to know!
And I guess that’s how we know real worship is happening. Real worship isn’t so much a song, or a lyric, or a feel good gathering with musicians. It is here where we find three hearts intent to pay proper homage to Jesus through a movement toward Him to find Him and give Him the best treasured gifts. And it is, here, a stirring of fear and murderous, lying opposition to his rule. Real worship produces false worship with an intent to do away with the King and all opposers of religious and political authority. It’s not a joke or a catchy, trendy turn of phrase - a “worshippers” insider joke about “playing church.” The worship of the real Jesus always brings “trouble” and the offer, “bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”
False worship comes in every form from sinful desire to be a part of the “happening thing”, to a murderous intent of direct opposition and persecution through corrupt law and oppression. It can form up as lustful indulgence because we just like to party and have good music and feel good, to being among the Christians to disrupt, mock, or subtly sow lies and doubts and slander. False worship can put on a beautiful face. It can show genuine interest and go through all the same motions.
In the end only the three were let through the supernatural walls of protection. Jesus was guarded by God’s own power in cooperation with the true worshippers - the ones who had a heart to put obedient feet to their words and gifts. Angels speak to them. And the glory of the King is protected by the power of God, through the actions of the true worshippers.