Reason for The Season – Part 3
Three Unlikely Wise Men
“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi (Wise Men), from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ (Messiah) was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “For this is what the prophet has written: (Matthew 2:1-5)
“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.” (Micah 5:2)
Herod secretly called a meeting with the Magi, and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said,
“Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” (Matthew 2:8)
“After this interview the wise man went on their way. And the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of frankincense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.”(Matthew 2:12)
When I first read this, I was a little confused because no where did it mention three wise men. So I did a little research, to come to find out, that we are not sure how many wise men visited Jesus. We have made the assumption that there were three wise men, because they left three gifts.
Definition of the word Magi translates into wise men. They were wealthy, intelligent men, who helped the rulers in their area. We know that they were men from the east. Probably from Persia or Babylon. Now men from Babylon and Persia, did not have any need to be looking for a Savior. They came from a country who had captured the Jews in Judah, and forced them to leave their home country to become slaves in Babylon and Persia. To think that God would send men from such a country is awe-inspiring. We also know that they were astrologers. Creating the star that showed them the way, would be a perfect sign for them to see. Finally they had to travel 800-900 miles to find Jesus. They had to follow a star that far. Night after night, cloudy, rainy, whatever the weather may be. I find that incredibly amazing. I have never seen a star that shines so bright, that it illuminates a beacon of light down to earth. A star that would show me the way for that many miles.
Even though they were wise men, who were wealthy, and intelligent in the world’s ways, they still listened to their dreams. When they had a dream that told them not to tell Herod about baby Jesus, they did it. They went home using a different route. I don’t know about you, but it seems that sometimes being educated, only makes me question things more. It makes it harder for me to listen to God. They did exactly as he instructed them.
Another example of how amazing God is. He leads people 800-900 miles away from home, riding on a camel or donkey probably, using only a star as their GPS. It would take days. What if food ran out? What if they ran into robbers? What if a storm blew through, killing all of them? Without another thought, they set out to find baby Jesus. Believing that he is the Messiah. These men were people from a foreign land. A land that did not believe in the One True God. After all of that, they decided to disobey a murderous king. And return home using a different route. God is mysterious and awesome if you pay attention.
“Dear Lord, show us how to obey. Show us to be wise men and women in the face of worldly values. Show us how to follow your star that still shines bright this Christmas season, if only we would pay attention. Help us to remember the real reason for the season. And to show others your love. Amen”
May God bless you and your family this Christmas season,