Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Look at the Wise Men

If you grew up in the church or set up a nativity for Christmas, I'm guessing you know about the wise men. Perhaps like many, you could tell me - they were three men from the east who brought gifts for Jesus. You may even mention magi and astrologers along with gold, frankincense and myrrh. But friend, do you realize there's more to these men than we grew up understanding?

We find their story in Matthew 2:1-12, please take a minute and read it in your Bible or simply click HERE to read it in its entirety. These words may be familiar, but I want to challenge you to dive a bit deeper with me. Over a week ago I was challenged by 5 simple words when I read this statement - "Wise men still seek Him." I'd heard this before, but God used it to take me on a journey and I pray He does the same for you. Let me ask you a few questions and I encourage you to think about your answers before reading my thoughts.

Who were the wise men? These men were magi also known as astrologers who traveled from a distant land, which reminds us Jesus came for all. Researchers don't know how many...the song "We Three Kings" gives us a number, but Scripture does not. It is estimated they traveled nearly 1,000 miles and arrived when Jesus was 1 or 2.

Why did they come? In verse two we find our answer - they came to worship! One commentator also mentioned how they knew something of Jesus and wanted to know more.

How did they find Him? They followed the star, asked questions and knew what the prophet had said -"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 shepherd my people Israel."

How did they respond when they found Him? Verse 11 says, "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, frankincense and myrrh." There is a definite sense of reverence and the idea that they understood this truly was no ordinary baby. Also interesting to note the difference in their reactions to the two kings - they bowed for the baby Jesus, but that is not mentioned in their interaction with King Herod.

What lesson can we learn from them? Seeking is something the wise men did and is what we are called to do...may we learn from and be encouraged by the example they set. Seeking takes time, work and effort...we must persevere if we want to find Christ and see God. They presented gifts that were valuable to Jesus, do you? Do I? Matthew Henry said it well, "What God favors us with, we must honor Him with."  In verse 12, we are reminded of another important truth when it comes to our faith - "And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route." The wise men listened to God rather than following King Herod's orders; friends may we too live to fear and obey God, not man. 

As I've studied the wise men a bit more and learned a few things I never knew I've been encouraged and convicted. I haven't mentioned verse 10, but that short sentence hit me like it never has. Here we read, "When they saw the star, they were overjoyed." Their joy didn't come when they found Jesus, they were overjoyed when they saw the thing that would lead them to Him. As I thought about this, God impressed on my heart that the Bible was my star and too often my reaction is no where near to the wise men's. Praying you, and I, will experience joy when we see His Word because we know it will help us find Jesus.

In closing, I hope this little look at the wise men has been beneficial for you and I pray you take sometime and think about these questions. This Christmas may be the wise women who still seek Him!!

Why do you seek Jesus?

How do you respond when you find Him?

What can you give Him? 


Some words to encourage you as you seek Him, the One who loves you, this Christmas season - 

"But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul." Deut. 4:29


"I love those who love me,
    and those who seek me find me." Proverbs 8:17


"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13

"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." Hebrews 11:6

2 comments:

  1. I loved this fresh look at the wise men. Thank you!! I tell you what stayed with me were these words (words I never would have focused on but for you pointing me back today - thank you!)

    "Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh."

    I ask myself, do I open the gifts and treasures I have and offer them back to Him, willingly and generously? After all, they all come from Him.

    Thanks for blessing me today.

    Christmas Blessings,

    Wendy

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    1. Grateful God used this to speak to you Wendy. It's a short recap of Titus24U earlier this week. The verse about gifts has been stirring in my mind as well...I spend time finding the right gift for others, but how intentional am I when it comes to giving it all back to Him!!

      I read one commentator talk about us giving Him our worship, wealth and witness. Praying I can do that more and more!

      Christmas Blessings to you!

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