20 Days - Three Wise Men
Updated: Dec 6, 2020
Written by Harper Leigh.
"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, look, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who is born King of the Jews? For we saw his star in the east, and have come to worship him.”And when King Herod heard it, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he asked them where the Messiah would be born. And they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written through the prophet, ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are in no way least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come forth a ruler who will shepherd my people, Israel.’” Then Herod secretly called the wise men and learned from them exactly what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, “Go and search diligently for the young child, and when you have found him, bring me word, so that I also may come and worship him.” And they, having heard the king, went their way; and look, the star which they saw in the east went before them, until it came and stood over where the young child was. And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And they came into the house and saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Being warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they went back to their own country another way."
It is hard to get through a Christmas Season and not talk about the Wise Men. Other than the cute ceramic men I placed around my nativity scene growing up, I really didn't know why these "wise men" are so significant to the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. But, the treasure is in the story! I hope after reading this you have newfound awe at the story of the wise men and recognize more clearly God as the great promise keeper.
First, who are the wise men, and why are they significant? Also known as Magi (where English gets its word magic), these wise men would be known today as what we call astronomers. Scholars agree that these were highly educated and highly ranked members of society who probably would have been very familiar with the prophecies in the old testament. So basically they knew the Messiah was coming and where he would be born!
How did they know where he would be born? It is written in the Word in Micah 5:2 and Numbers 24:17!
Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans[a] of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
Numbers 24:17 "I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the people of Sheth."
This is the story of the faithful promises of God coming to pass! How faithful is the God we serve! Think about it this way: the book of Micah is thought to have been written around the last half of the 8th century BC and Jesus is thought to have been born around 2 or 3 BC! That means anywhere between 300-500 years could have passed BEFORE the prophecy in Micah would come to happen! Can you imagine then being the wise men and recognizing what is happening? People have been waiting hundreds of years for the Messiah to come and the promises to be fulfilled and it happens right before their own eyes! They are witnesses to God's faithfulness.
So now that we know who they are and what was significant about their discovery, how do they respond to the fulfilled promise?
1. they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy: Before they even went in and saw Jesus, they saw the star and rejoiced for the star! This little sign that carried them to Jesus!
2. "fell down and worshiped him." This response of falling down and worshipping is repeated throughout the Bible when people encounter God (Daniel 10:9-10, Rev 22:8-9, Psalm 72:9, Mark 5:6, Luke 17:16, Phillipians 2:10). When encountering such perfect holiness and power we can't help but fall to our knees! The magi were some of the most respected members of society; yet, their faithful encounter here shows that they knew that their worth in society did not come close to the one born in the manger.
3. "opening their treasures, they offered gifts to him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh" Gold was extremely valuable in the time of Jesus. This gift displays how much value they perceived Jesus to be and was often a gift given to kings (see 1 Kings 10). Frankincense is closely linked with worship; wherein the old testament special incense would be offered up to God in the temple and tabernacle (see Exodus 30). Scholars find myrrh to be a peculiar gift to give to a baby because it was primarily used in burial rituals and anointing oil for priests in the old testament before a sacrifice could be made. However, knowing the story of Jesus, we know this was a gift evident of the atoning sacrifice they knew Jesus would be (See John 19:39). So the wise men brought a gift to show value, worship, and recognition!
This response from the wise men gives us a beautiful picture of how we can respond to knowing Jesus. We rejoice with great joy, worship, and offer our treasures to Jesus for we know where our true life comes from. God is faithful in his promises! I hope this encourages your faith today and encourages you to believe wholeheartedly that God is the promise keeper!
Questions for you to reflect on:
- how have you witnessed God's faithfulness in your own life?
- What is a little sign in your life that has carried you to Jesus?
- How can you show generosity to God and his Kingdom (my time, resources, money)?
Please enjoy this wise men rap for a pick-me-up https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYXo4c-9S08&ab_channel=AndrewCuthbertson
I would love to hear from you! If this impacted you at all or if you have any comments please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on Instagram at _harper.leigh_.
Grace and peace to you all,