Have you ever paused to consider how much joy the magi had? Scripture says they rejoiced exceedingly when they finally saw the star standing over the place where the Child was. Were they naturally happy men? Did they have bubbly personalities? Seems out of character for such smart men!
These magi were wise men, scholars of their day, some say of the order of a priesthood. Obviously they were learned in astronomy and looked into the mysteries of the night sky to understand and determine their times. However their research unfolded, they knew they had seen His star in the east, that He was born King of the Jews, and they were willing to travel thousands of miles just to worship Him. (Mt 2:2)
What makes their statement about Jesus being born King of the Jews gripping is that ancient Jewish tradition stated their king, the Messiah, when he came would be king of the whole world! Perhaps the wise men knew this, hence their journey. Perhaps Herod knew of this ancient tradition too, and that is why he went to great lengths to try and destroy this newborn king.
Isn’t it interesting that the magi got their bearings and their leading during the night hours. They needed the dark sky to see. Oh that we could be so sensitive to ‘see’ in the darkness, knowing He is leading and providing a sign to help us along our way.
Now these wise men followed a moving star! But some intellectuals of our day say they must have followed a planet, because stars don’t move. Obviously these intellectuals do not understand the power of God, nor His sovereignty. For goodness sake, the Lord caused the sun to not go down for about a whole day! (Jos 10:12-14) So to make a star move is nothing to God! These wise men were astronomers, they would understand the stability of stars. Maybe this supernatural moving star confirmed their revelation that the King of the Jews had been born.
Miles go by, weeks go by, months maybe – whatever the length of the journey they were determined and confident they would reach their goal. Their commitment, confidence, and determination were rewarded when the moving star, which had faithfully gone on before them, finally stood over the place where the Child King was. Then their joy burst forth! Did the joy come from confirmation of all their calculations? Was the joy expressed because they could tell all their friends back home, ‘We were right! See, we told you so!” Was it because they didn’t have to ride their camels for a while? Was it because they could finally get a good night’s sleep?
To really answer those questions it helps to figure out what kind of joy we are talking about. Scripture states, “…the star which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.” (Mt 2:9,10) Now obviously they had been seeing the star all along their journey, but the rejoicing commenced when it stood still – like it was saying to them – “Here He is!” The joy had to do with Him!
Now here is the good stuff. Looking at the Greek word meanings of “rejoiced exceedingly with great joy” will explain why the wise men had too much joy.
- rejoiced – chairo – to rejoice, be glad
- exceedingly – sphodra – excessive, violent, very much, deeply, extremely
- great – megas – great, abundant, loud, fierce
- joy – chara (from chairo) – joy, delight
This is not your ordinary bubbly joy.
Just try to picture these magi – wise old men, smart, learned scholars, professionals in their field of study – hence reserved, have a certain aplomb about them, carry themselves with decorum that shows an assurance and dignity, astute, circumspect. Now picture these magi losing it. They are excessively and deeply glad. They are rejoicing violently. Talk about extreme! Their joy is so great and abundant that it is loud. Did anyone hear their shouts of joy? In fact you could say their joy was fierce. Talk about intense! Their joy had to have affected their whole being. Their body could not have contained or restrained this kind of joy. What a sight they must have been!
This kind of joy is to be ours too. Now if you are a more quiet or reserved person, that might scare you. But hey, to be that free with joy! Come on! Besides, I don’t think those wise men could stop themselves. Nor would they have later discussed their exuberance as inappropriate or beyond their status. They were too happy!
Extreme – perhaps another good name for God. He always does things extreme. So why wouldn’t His joy be extreme? His joy is part of who He is. Now why would we be afraid of Joy? So if you have any fear going on in your understanding of God, then you need to encounter His joy!
His joy is supernatural. It is a fruit of the Spirit. It is has nothing to do with circumstances. It has to do with a Person, the King of kings. The magi were seeking the King in order to worship Him, to adore Him. They got more. Unexpected, never before experienced, beyond restraint, unhindered, out of this world joy! In fact, joy unspeakable and full of glory! (1Pet 1:8)
You can’t muster up, work up, or laugh your way into this kind of joy. It is supernatural and pure. You can’t earn this joy either. It is free! It is part of His kingdom, along with righteousness and peace. (Rom 14:17)
My goodness, what fullness the Lord brought to the world when His Son was born King. Maybe many of us have not experienced the fierce joy like the wise men did, because we don’t fully understand the significance of His Kingship?
Oh to be like wise men – seeking, finding, and knowing the King of kings. Then, we also will have too much joy! Hmm, maybe little children are wiser than we know!
May you experience joy unspeakable that impacts and refreshes your whole being.