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Friday, December 23, 2011

Why the Wise Men Were Really, Really Wise

Contrary to most nativity scenes that are displayed and for sale during this time of year, the wise men (or Magi) didn't visit baby Jesus at the manger.  (By the way, the Bible also never says there were three men, but three we really don't know how many there were.)  But the past few days, I've been thinking about just how wise those wise men were.

Think with me for a little bit about the things that made the wise men really, really wise:

The wise men saw the star that appeared when Jesus was born and they left the "East" to go find Him.  Where was the "East"?  How far was it from the "east" to Bethlehem? How long did it take them? We don't know.  The Bible doesn't say.  What it does say is that they went to Bethlehem for a very important reason.  They went to worship Jesus.  What wisdom!

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi  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.” 
Matthew 2:1-2

King Herod wasn't too thrilled about this news about this new king being born, was he?  He questioned the wise men to find out exactly when the star had appeared and more about where the child was to be born.  He instructed the wise men to go to Bethlehem and search for the child so that he could go and worship him, too.

Then Herod called the Magi secretly 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 2:7-8

In my research I found that the distance between the two towns was six miles, so not too far - even if on foot or by camel or donkey.  However, what makes the wise men even more wise is #1 that they continued to search for Jesus, #2 that they continued following the star, and #3 that they knew that they couldn't trust King Herod, but could only trust God.  It seems apparent that God was guiding the wise men, doesn't it?  It certainly does, but just like with us, the wise men could have gone against the will of God.  They could have stopped following the star.  They could have given up on the search of Jesus.  They could have believed King Herod and gone back to him with the information he was seeking, but they didn't.  The were really, really wise, and after they arrived at the house (house....not manger) and worshipped Jesus and gave Him their gifts, they went back to their country using a different route.  What wisdom!

After they had heard the king, they 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. 10 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 incense 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 2:9-12

That is the last time we hear of the wise men, but all of these years later, they are still showing their faith and trust in God as an example to us because of what we read in God's Word.  We can see for ourselves just how wise they were.

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

   So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
  When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.
Matthew 2:13-16 

So, what can we learn from these wise men?  How can we be really, really wise?  By doing what they did!

#1 - By continuing to search for Jesus and when we find him, to continue to seek Him.  Seek Him with all of our hearts for all of our lives.
#2 - By continuing to follow the star....Jesus.....the light of the world!
#3 - By trusting in God in all things.  Not letting the ways of men or the ways of the world get in the way of trusting and following him.

Merry Christmas, everyone!  Be WISE!

1 comment:

Wa Wa Waughs said...

AMEN. The fact that a non-believer like Herod was concerned says something too! Jesus was real!

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