What Child is this? Part 2 Wise men
Once again the Famous Christmas Carol tells the story. Although wise men or magi specifically are not mentioned as characters in the carol, their actions of worship and generosity lead the lyrics of the third stanza.
“So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh…”
Here is the scripture Matthew 2: 1-12
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ” 7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” 9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.
As we look at the wise men today I want us to see why God had wise men come.
Lets look at the wise men a bit. Have you ever wondered where they came from Matthew reports that they were from the east. To the Jews anything beyond the Jordan river was considered the east but their gifts tell us most likely where they came from and then the scripture prophesied where they came from.
The gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh
Gold was found on the Arab peninsula according to scripture 1 Kings 9:28; 10:2; 1 Chronicles 29:3-4; Job 28:16
However more of an indicator of where these men may have come from is in the other two gifts: Frankincense and Myrrh are both harvested from trees grown mainly on the Arab peninsula.
Still more importantly to understanding the origin of these men is the prophecy in Isaiah 60 1-6
Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. 2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. 3 The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising. 4 “Lift up your eyes all around, and see: They all gather together, they come to you; Your sons shall come from afar, And your daughters shall be nursed at your side. 5 Then you shall see and become radiant, And your heart shall swell with joy; Because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, The wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you. 6 The multitude of camels shall cover your land, The dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; All those from Sheba shall come; They shall bring gold and incense, And they shall proclaim the praises of the Lord
Let’s here from one of them today
This prophecy about Christ’s birth talks about camels coming from Midian, Ephah and Sheba all areas on the Arabian peninsula.
“They shall bring gold and incense”
The birth of Christ brought Isaac and Ishmael together. Isaac being represented by Mary and Joseph and Ishmael by the wise men sons of Arabia
The wise men show us that the messiah was not just for the Jews but for the whole world…”the gentiles will come to your light”
What child is this?
The wise men story is a prophetic one for us I want us to look at their story from this perspective today
First the wise men indicate to us that God does love the whole world
so much that he spoke to Gentiles (anyone that is not jewish).
We need to always understand the Lord is always reaching out to us.
Jeremiah 31:3 tells us
The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying:
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.
He came after you….
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
Jesus was born, lived, died on a cross then rose again so we might have relationship with God reconciled
Reconciled means a debt was owned…because of our sin, our rejection of God in fact Paul states that as long as we don’t accept God’s gift of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross we were enemies of God…we owed a debt because of our sin but Jesus came after us by dying on the cross he paid that debt for us so we could be reconciled (our debt of sin totally paid)
Second they followed a star
Have you ever thought why was a star important? Of course it is magnificent and majestic and what better way to proclaim the birth of a King but let me share something that is very important for us to grasp about God’s great love.
I share with people all of the time God knows them…he knew the wise men, he knew how to reach them, he knew what they would be looking for…he cared about these particular wise men
He knows how to reach you
He created you and every one you know in a very special way so He knows what will reach you
Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
He formed you, your family members and friends and He knows what will reach them…you are sitting here today because He knew how to reach you and he loves your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers just as much
He knows you…exactly…he knows your heart, your joy, your pain, nothing escapes Him
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
That is pretty intimate
Don’t give up on anyone trust that the Lord did create them and with that a way to reach them with His love which kind of leads me to my next point
Third he even reached out to the most hardened desiring even for them to repent
When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
Herod was a political hack. We was not for the Jews or the romans but for himself. He was an egomaniac and a narcissist. He had no faith but in God’s grace and mercy he sent the wise men to him
This is another reason God chose the wise men they would have the freedom to get an audience with the King.
Think how much planning God put into reaching out to Herod
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
The wise men reveal God’s loving nature and character for even the most despicable
I don’t care if you like our president or not but God loves him I don’t care if you like Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi or not God loves and wants to reach them to for us to have hatred for anyone violates what Christ did on the cross. We can hate what they do, the decisions they make that are ungodly but we pray for and believe for the person.
If God would send these wise men to Herod we get a better understand of Christ mission to the world and ultimately our mission to the world.
Last insight I want us to grasp from the wise men today is they brought gifts.
The wise men’s gift were practical in that Joseph could easily have used them to cover the cost of their exile into Egypt
Isn’t interesting how incensed people become when they reject the Gospel…immediately after the wise men left, Herod sought to kill Jesus
Jesus came as to bring and be a gift to us
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” Galatians 1:3-5
“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John 3:16,
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” John 14:27
“I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
We have at our disposal everything we need because of Christ being a gift to us
Today here is what we can take away from knowing the prophetic insight of the wise men
- God loves you and every person you know and wants you to know that
- He knows you well enough that he knows how to reach you, specifically and he knows how to reach your family and friends but I want to encourage you he will show you how to do it…whatever you are going through he knows how to get you through it
- Even those you are the most worried about or are the most grumpy in your life he wants to reach out to and he will most likely use you
- He is a gift to you…all that you need He is there for you
What do you need today?
Is there someone unsaved that you are concerned about come let’s pray for them perhaps the Lord will use you and this season to reach them
Are you going through something that you don’t think anyone else understands? God knows and He knows exactly how to get you through it
Have a need that seems impossible? With God nothing is impossible!