Believe it or not we are less than a month away from Christmas, so with that we are going to start talking some about some Christmas time things. Today I want to deal with some of the misunderstandings we have with the Wise Men or the Magi from Matthew 2:1-18.
There are several of the misunderstandings about the wise men and the first thing is that they were not kings as we often think and hear. They were magi or wise men, which means they were men who specialized in astronomy, medicine, and natural science. These were Wise Men: Magi, not magicians; Astronomers, not astrologers; Scientists, not wizards. They were probably Religious Philosophers from Persia who had become familiar with Jewish prophecies through contact with the writings of Daniel, Jeremiah, Ezra and other Jews scattered throughout the east. They must have been familiar with Scripture. To go along with this, there were most likely not just three, there could have been a great company of people travelling or there could have been two – we really do not know. The reason we often think that there are only three is because they brought three gifts to Jesus. No where does the Bible say there were three, it just says that there were Magi – there could have been two or five but three is just a guess.
Another misunderstanding is that they do not seem to come on the birth night, but many days or even more likely many months to even a year or more later. The reason for this is seen in a couple of things. One is that in verse 11 it says that the Wise Men entered “the house” – we know that Jesus was born in a manger so Joseph has now secured a house for the family. He was most likely able to get a house to stay in during the time of census which would take a long time in those days. Something else that would give us a clue is that when Herod has all the male children killed, he had those 2 years and below kill. Remember he asks the Magi when they saw the star in the sky – with that information he could have started figuring how old the child would be. I believe that is because he wanted to make sure he was going to kill the Jesus so he went a little high but if Jesus were only a few days or a month old he would have only had to have the 1 year olds and below killed. So I think that this gives us a pretty good idea that Jesus would have been a little older here when the Magi show up on the scene.
Think about this: how do the wise men show up on the scene? What are their clues as to where to go? I truly believe that the Wise Men read the Scriptures and understood what it was saying, they saw the star, and so they sought after Jesus. When it comes to this Christmas, be like the Wise Men who read the word of God and who sought after Jesus. They just did not seek after Jesus but they were tenacious in their seeking him. They were asking the question: “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” You can see in this the tenaciousness of their desire to find Him.
Why were they seeking Him? Were they seeking Jesus to get something from Him? Did they seek him so that they could get things from Jesus like he would tell them he would grant them three wishes? No! There reason for seeking Jesus was to worship Him. Let me ask you – why do you come go to Church? Do you come to worship Jesus? If you are going for any other reason – it is not a good one – but I still encourage you to go. Why is it that you celebrate Christmas? Is it to get things and presents or to worship Jesus? Do you worship Jesus at Christmas or has everything gotten in the way and now Christmas has become about something other than worshipping Him? If we are to be wise we need to make it about Jesus as the Magi do.
What are your thoughts?