All These Things
I don’t know about you, but I’ve read the nativity story and the temptation of Jesus more times than I can count. However, I spotted a theme that ran between the two accounts of the birth of Jesus and the start of His ministry that had gone completely unnoticed by me until now. We know that each story has a villain in it, right? The horrible, heinousness king Herod and the diabolical, devious devil. But if we peel back the layers, each story is about gifts, worship, and provision. Each story is about all these things and so much more…
Let’s look at the nativity story first. A Saviour King had been born in a stable and King Herod was not happy about it. So, Herod concocted a plan. He told the Three Wise Men who had brought gifts for the new King that he needed to know where this Child King had been born so he too could bow down and worship Him. ‘Then Herod secretly summoned the spiritual priests from the East to ascertain the exact time the star first appeared. And he told them, “Now go to Bethlehem and carefully look there for the child, and when you’ve found him, report to me so that I can go and bow down and worship him too.” (Matthew 2:7-8 TPT)
Of course, we know the horrible, heinousness king Herod’s motive was to get rid of Jesus because He was perceived as a threat to his reign. There was no way Herod was ever going to bow down to Jesus and worship Him. Not a chance. Nevertheless, the gifts from the Wise Men play a significant part in the story because although they were to show the Wise Men’s honour and worship to the new King, God knew Mary and Joseph would have to escape later on in the story to Egypt so King Herod couldn’t find them which meant that the gold, frankincense and myrrh would have possibly been sold to give them the finances and resources for their escape.
Extravagant gift-giving, the need to be worshipped, and the provision God provided are all wrapped up in the nativity story. ‘And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary, His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him; gold, frankincense, and myrrh.’ (Matthew 2:11)
Story two is about the temptation of Jesus. ‘Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” (Matthew 4:8-9 NKJV) The diabolical, devious devil was giving Jesus the gifts of kingdoms and all the glory and provision they offered in exchange for him to be worshipped. ‘Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” (Matthew 4:10) Extravagant gift giving, the need to be worshipped, and the provision God provided are all wrapped up in the temptation of Jesus story.
Gifts, worship, provision. All these things were used as tools by the villain in each story to make sure Jesus’ story didn’t progress. And the villain in our stories will use all these things to get us off track. The enemy will promise us gifts; however, there are strings attached if we receive them. The enemy wants us to worship him instead of worshipping Jesus, and finally, the enemy reminds us that God won’t provide for all our needs because He cannot be trusted. All the villain’s lies, traps and pitfalls are to stop our stories, to halt our callings and to sow suspicion in our relationship with God. All these things the villain uses in our stories to get us to focus on him rather than God.
But the beautiful thing about each of these stories is that it shows us that God is a God who will turn what the enemy uses for our demise into something good, something for His purpose. He uses all these things, gifts, worship, and provision because all these things are what Jesus represents. A Saviour who was God’s only Son, a gift to us at Christmas, the One and only we are to worship, the King who provides everything we need for our stories to keep progressing.
So, as we wrap up 2022 and move forward into a new year, remember that if you keep all these things in your mind by focusing on Jesus, the gift, worship Him and Him only, and know that He is the One who provides for all our needs, our stories will progress into something amazing. And the best part is that He gets all the glory!