And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, [the Magi] returned to their country by another route.
Matthew 2:12 (NIVUK)
Isn’t it interesting that after the Magi had their encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ, after their epiphany and their worship of the one who was born king of the Jews, they couldn’t go back the same way they came.
Once you have met the Lord God you will never be the same again – an encounter with God changes things – it changes you. It has always been that way: Jacob wrestled with God and never walked the same again (Genesis 32:22-32); Isaiah stepped into the presence of God, became aware of who he himself was in comparison to the Holy, Holy, Holy, God, and was never the same again (Isaiah 6:1-8); Peter experienced Jesus’s miraculous catch of fish on Lake Gennesaret, and was so profoundly affected that he fell on his knees and said, ‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!’ (Luke 5:8).
All these individuals were changed when they came into the presence of the divine and this is what happened to the wise men when they encountered Jesus – they were changed, so their lives now took a different route.
This is true for all people who encounter Jesus and have an epiphany of who he is – their lives are changed, they cannot remain the same, and the journey of their lives must take a different route.
The Magi were wise in that they stepped out in faith to find the King of the Jews, making a long and perilous journey to find him. They were wise in that when they found him, they worshipped him, and it changed the direction of their lives.
How about us? If we step out in faith to seek Jesus and we experience his presence, and we worship him as he deserves, we will not remain the same. We will live in a different way, bypassing the way of this world, as we follow Jesus.
This is the wise journey the Magi took, and wise men and women still do today.
Loving Father, may we encounter Jesus more fully, worship him more dearly, and follow him more closely. In Jesus’s name, we pray, Amen.