DAY 9: The Wise Men
Read: Matthew 2:1 – 12
Key Verse: Matthew 2:11 And when they had 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 resented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh .(NKJV)
They have become an integral part of our nativity scenes and school plays. The image of three rather exotic eastern men riding on camels following a star is instantly recognisable.
The traditional view that three wise men journeyed to see Christ is likely based on the fact that three gifts were given. However, since the Bible does not tell us the number we can only speculate. The Bible also indicates that they came from ‘the east,’ which would be in the direction of Babylon. The Babylonians had many opportunities to learn of the Jewish Scriptures, which contain multiple promises of the coming Messiah. Daniel had shed his influence there 600 years before, and he foretold the coming of the Messiah (Daniel 9:24-26). During the time of the Exile (605-536) many thousands of Jews lived there and maintained a large presence for centuries. So the stage was being prepared for the wise men to come to play a major part in the Christmas story, although it is now widely accepted that the wise men did not form part of that stable scene at Bethlehem but rather came to visit the baby Jesus later than that.
The most striking and challenging feature of these travellers from the east was that they were definitely ‘seekers.’ We still see stickers on cars that remind us that if we are wise we will still seek Jesus. Their journey speaks to us across the years as a template for our walk with Christ. It wasn’t a journey based on a whim but was the result of spiritual hunger and a desire for truth. They had to be able to work in a team, plan and prepare for the journey ahead, both practically and spiritually. Many miles and difficult pathways did not stop them, nor were they people pleasers or deterred from their path by powerful men like Herod. They had a vision; a hunger; a quest and they worked to achieve their goals. God rewarded their commitment by positioning the star to guide them and by a dream to protect them from Herod’s revenge.
I’m sure that God still does look for wise men and women who will set their course, holding on to the promises of God and who hope to be salt and light wherever He leads. No matter how long and difficult the journey ‘being confident of this very thing that He who has begun a good work in you will perform it to the day of Jesus Christ.’ (Phil.1:6)
By Margaret Michael