WE LEARN FROM THE WISE MEN
Matt. 2:1-2 “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.”
Matthew begins to describe what happened after the birth of Jesus. He was not welcomed by Israel as a nation. Herod, when he heard of the birth of Christ, killed all the children that might qualify to be the One born King. Herod would not tolerate anyone or anything that might eventually be a threat to his position as king. He is a good type of the flesh that struggles against the Spirit and will do anything to prevent the reign of the Spirit in the believer’s life.
If the nation of Israel will not welcome Christ, God will bring wise men from another country to do so. The word “wise” translates “magos” and means, according to Strong: “a magus, the name given by the Babylonians (Chaldeans), Medes, Persians, and others, to the wise men, teachers, priests, physicians, astrologers, seers, interpreters of dreams, augers, soothsayers, sorcerers etc.” These men were called wise men because the fact that they fit into the general category of people who were identified by this name. These men were either Jews who were carried away in the dispersion by Nebuchadnezzar, the children of those who were taken into captivity, or, converted to the Jewish faith through the influence of those taken captive. They were not “soothsayers” of demonic origin. These men came to “see for themselves” and to “worship him.” How did this all come about?
First, they had the Scriptures. The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork. But the stars do not tell you when Christ is going to be born. These men were students of the Scriptures that were available to them at that time. Numbers 24:17 says, “I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.” These wise men were wise in Scripture. God had given them insight into the truth of this prophecy.
They did not only have the Scriptures, they had the star. The wise men’s explanation of how they came to come to the Land of Israel at this time is, “ . . . we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” They were not trying to keep secrets. They boldly declared “we have seen his star in the east.” They confessed “we were looking for HIS star.” There is no other way these wise men could have known except Numbers 24:17. This was not a normal star. It amazes me how those who claim to believe the Bible fall for this idea that this was a star up in the heavens located over Bethlehem. Have you ever noticed how that you can look up into the heavens and see a star right above you and then drive down the road one hundred miles and get out and look up and it is still right above you? This star came low enough to guide them to the very door of the house where Jesus was. Was there no one in the Land who knew this prophecy? Probably not anyone who would worship Him. So God brought these wise men to worship Him. They had the Scriptures and the star.
They also had satisfaction. They found the Christ. Born in a stable, He is now in a house. Verse 11 says, “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother . . .” These were men of faith. They would have never taken this long journey unless they had believed the Scripture and had seen HIS STAR in the east, i.e., the star appeared to them in the east where ever that was. These men were satisfied that they had found the fulfillment of the prophecy they were studying when they looked upon Jesus. They worshiped Him.
I believe that God’s revelations are found in the Scripture. This is where He begins with us. Then He illuminates and shows us what the revelation means and how it is applied. This “word of knowledge” business does not come out of the air, it comes off the PAGE! And what you hear from the Holy Spirit about the meaning, will NEVER contradict that passage or any other passage in the Bible. God does not contradict Himself.
There are some reasons the wise men rejoiced: verse 10 says, “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.” The word “rejoiced” translates a word that means “to rejoice exceedingly.” But the word “exceeding” is also there and it means “exceedingly” and has the word “violence” in the definition. They “rejoiced violently” doesn’t sound quite right. But I want you to see they were not acting like they were in a funeral home! The word “great” translates the word “megas” from which we get our word “megaphone, or megaton”. This word is used to describe the expanse of space. Do you see how the Father in heaven provided a welcome for His Son that it would surpass any greeting that a victorious army would receive at their homecoming.
Now lets look at the reasons for their joy. First, they rejoiced that the Scriptures were authenticated. There is nothing that authenticates the Scriptures more than fulfilled prophecy. There are literally thousands of prophecies that have already been fulfilled. Isaiah 34:16 says, “Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.” Many are yet to be fulfilled. We can be sure that all prophecy will be fulfilled exactly as written. These wise men believed the Scriptures and rejoiced when they saw an ancient prophecy fulfilled before their eyes.
Second, they rejoiced that they were being guided. Have you ever been guided by the Lord in a matter, and the length of the journey, and the difficulties thereof, made you wonder if you missed it? These men were every bit as human as any of us. They had to struggle against their own human rationalism. They had not come to Bethlehem from the air port. They had been walking and riding camels for months. Faith had been sorely tried. But their faith stood the test. They were in it to the end. Now, here they are, starring down upon Jesus, the seed of the woman, the Christ of God and Matthew tells us “they worshiped Him.” Hallelujah! They rejoice that they were being guided by the unseen hand of God.
Third, they rejoiced that they had found the promised One. They asked “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” The wise men believed correctly that this Child was one with a destiny. He was born with a destiny. None born in the natural way could have this particular destiny. He came through the womb not from the womb. God is stepping down from eternity into time. It is such an awesome step. Only the Infinite One could do this. When the wise men looked down upon the face of this “young child” (vs 9), they rejoiced that God had visited man and they rejoiced that they had found Him.
Fourth, they rejoiced in their worship. Worship should be a joy. It should be a release. It should be a time of private and collective praise. We need to learn to worship in private. Privacy shuts you up to God. That is good. Then we need to worship collectively. Jesus began the church as a place where collective worship could take place. “Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Eph. 3:21). Unless Jesus is worshiped in the church, he is not glorified. The church is the place where we come together to worship and glorify Him. We need to learn from the wise men.
May the Lord bless this to our hearts.