And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him…
The word "worship" is a confusing word. It is applied to human beings, and it is applied to God. It means, "offer homage as to a king;" it means, "reverently acknowledge as Divine." Really the word seems only to mean, "acknowledge the worth of." We speak of magistrates as "your worship." We speak of the service of the Churches as "worship." But when we use the word carefully, we limit it to "paying Divine honours," "venerating with religious rites." We cannot, however, assume that these Eastern Magi worshipped the Babe in the higher, spiritual sense, recognizing in him the manifested God. We have simply that anticipative homage which was due to one who would prove to be a great King. Their attitude implies the Eastern homage offered to a King,
I. WORSHIPPING THE BABE WAS AN ACT OF FAITH. They could not worship on the ground of what the Babe actually was. He was only an ordinary world's Babe, with commonplace cottage surroundings. There was nothing whatever to suggest kingly claims. The Magi could only have worshipped on the ground of their belief in his royalty and future kingship; and that belief must have been founded on evidence that was kin to them, and satisfactory to them. It is not necessary that what satisfied them should also satisfy us. If they were convinced, their conduct in worshipping the Babe was fully justified. Show that faith must be founded on evidence, but the evidence must be relative to the capacity and associations of each individual. We are responsible for our beliefs. And, whatever they are, we are bound to act upon them. If we believe that Christ is a born King, then our place is with the Magi, worshipping him. What, then, do you believe concerning Christ?
II. WORSHIPPING THE BABE WAS AN ACT OF LOYALTY, That is, it meant acknowledging this King as their King, and declaring themselves ready to enrol themselves in his kingdom whenever that kingdom should be established. And this certainly is the true and full significance of the worship of Jesus, as now the exalted and spiritual King. It is the declaration and reaffirmation of our loyalty. Every act of worship should be an act of consecration and devotion, a reassertion of our full readiness to serve the King. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And when they were 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 unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.