Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Three Kings: Being Men of God

One of the best parts about my childhood was having “Santa Claus” on December 25th and Three Kings on January 6th.

You know what that means?

Twice the goodies/gifts in a twelve-day span!  The joys of being Puerto Rican in Brooklyn!

Okay, as a subscriber to the Reformation doctrine “sola scriptura” I don’t believe that Three Kings visited Jesus Christ.

The Bible says Magi from the east, probably Persian Astrologers (hence "wise men"), visited Christ Jesus. They were influential enough to receive an audience with King Herod and we don’t know how many traveled to Jerusalem.

That doesn’t mean that the story as told in extra-biblical Christian traditions doesn’t have value.  But there is plenty to reflect on as told in the book of Matthew.

To all my Hispanic/Latino people who are celebrating Three Kings Day (Los Tres Reyes Magos) have a blessed time!

I want to reflect on the Magi (Three Kings) as it relates to our manhood journey.

First, follow the light.
The journey of the Magi is a reminder to us that no matter how wise we think we are, no matter how wealthy we become, the true light and life is found only in Christ Jesus.

And this is why it is so important to stay humble.  Magi who were not Jews and did not have the Scriptures were more aware of God’s presence than God’s people.

This is scary!  Why?  Because the Father was drawing them to the Son and the people who held the Scriptures were only a pit stop on the journey.

Instead of running behind the Magi the people stayed in their palace and in their houses of worship.  What a warning to us concerning creature comforts, power and "bling"!  God didn't visit the wealthy and the self-righteous but the humble, the poor, the shepherds and the Magi.

Three Kings day actually coincides with another Christian tradition known as “epiphany” meaning light & illumination.  Are we living in the light?  Are we seeing our lives through the light of God’s Word?

Is your life a guide to the spiritual seeker or a pit stop on the journey?  God draws spiritual seekers who are looking for the light of God in Christ.  But are we ready to greet them?

Second, live a life of worship.
The Magi worshipped Jesus with more than a hymn but with gifts that said something about His identity and our responsibility.

Jesus received gold because He is the King of Kings.  Is Jesus in charge of our treasury?  Do we tithe to God?  Are we growing in the grace of giving?

They gave Jesus frankincense because Jesus was the answer to prayer and worthy of being prayed to as God the Son.  What is your prayer life like?  Do you go to God in prayer only when you are in a jam?  Do you plan, prepare and strategize your life bathed in prayer?  Prayer is the language of trust, submission and dependence on God.

Jesus was given the gift of myrrh in preparation for His burial.  He was to lay down His life for our sins.  Tomorrow is not promised to anyone.  So are you dying daily to selfish desire? Have you thought about what you want others to say at your funeral?  How you live now determines your eulogy later.

Are you planning for others to praise you or criticize you when you die? Even Socrates said that, “an unexamined life is not worth living.”

Third, don’t walk alone.
The tradition of the Three Kings is a reminder of friendship among Kings.  If you walk with the wise then you will grow wise.  A triple-braided cord is not easily broken. We need genuine friends on this journey in Christ.

Are there men in your life that you are encouraging?  Do you have men in your life that encourage you?  I imagine the Magi working TOGETHER to follow the star. I imagine that if they were Kings they were sharing best practices and wanting the best for each other. Perhaps if they were Kings they fought battles together.  As Magi, I wonder if they cheerfully debated over the signs and wonders.

Here is a recommendation if you aren’t already doing this; pray once a week with two other men. Get a free conference number, call each other only to say hello and to pray.  Hang out and catch up on the game on another day.  But learn to pray with other men. (I recommend this to my sisters who are reading as well: Pray.)

It will transform your life for the glory of God.

Fourth, build across the divides.
The tradition of the Three Kings is filled with all kinds of legends about each of the Kings representing the sons of Noah.  In the images of the Three Kings at least one of them is visibly Nubian. It is a shame that this tradition seems to have done little to prevent racism in the church.

But the Biblical witness and the tradition are both reminders that God works where He wants to work.  And that our God is working to bring people across racial, ethnic, social and economic divides.  Human nature always draws to the familiar and the comfortable but our God welcomes strangers and reconciles enemies.  We are supposed to be a new holy race of people, like a “third culture” as Dave Gibbons puts it, in the world but not of it.  Where the best of every culture is preserved AND appreciated but at the same time IT'S a great melting pot where God does His cooking; a divine sancocho ( but I think God prefers grilling).

Do you reach across social, ethnic, racial and economic divides?
Do you welcome strangers into your circles of relationship who don't look like you?

Finally, listen for the voice of God.
Your ability to hear from God for yourself is your greatest asset!

  God used the religion of the Magi to bring them to a place of seeing the Savior of the world with their own eyes.

  In the beginning they followed signs.  

But then God gave them a dream and deepened His relationship with the Magi.

  A pilgrimage, time away from regular life toward the Holy, is meant as a journey to know God better and experience personal renewal.  They came as Magi and left as sons of God.

The Magi after worshipping Jesus Christ were warned in a dream not to return to Herod.  They saw Herod not as a great king but as a great evil.  The Magi took another route home.  God can use anything to get your attention but once you come to the Son you won’t leave the way you came.

They were transformed and now God was speaking to them in their dreams just as he was speaking to Joseph.

Have you been listening for the voice of God?

Do you take your time to hear His voice in the Holy Scriptures?

Do you take the time to worship the Lord so that you can be transformed and see things from His point of view?

Please share your thoughts and your questions.  

I pray that you will have a deeper journey with the King of Kings and the Only Wise God!

Your brother,

Minister Onorio


  1. Richard BowdenJanuary 06, 2011

    "Do you reach across social, ethnic, racial and economic divides?" First, I want to express this is a great question because it challenges a Christian's point of view about multiculturalism. In our society in the US, there continues to be a visual and mental divide between social economic classes and ethnic backgrounds. In the New Testament, Christ's walk clearly crosses these barriers. Christ fellowshipped with people of all backgrounds and this can be seen with in his group of disciples. Christ allows you to come as you are. However, American Christians continue to have hang-ups stemming from both their past history and false/damaged pride. I like what you said in one of your earlier threads stating, "My past informs me but, my relationship with God defines me." Acknowledging Jesus to be our Lord and Savior mandates a renewing of our mind. However, when we as Christian's don't challenge our point of view then we end up abusing the teachngs of Christ and begin to use his teachings when it becomes convenient to us. Pastor Bernard once said, "If you don't know the use of something then abuse is inevitable." Don't abuse the gift. Be careful not to allow your pride to interfere with God's work because you may misunderstand how God is using you to be blessing to someone else and you could also miss how someone could be a blessing to you. Dr. King once said, "Either we grow up together or we go down together." It is very important to fellowship and to have unity in Chirst. We do not want to walk around like oxymorons. We should be walking in humility with a new lens on life versus walking with a prejudice and an unforgivening attitude. All cultures are watching to see if we believe in what we claim to believe. In all our ways we are to represent the image of Christ.


Blog Archive