Tradition has it that there were three wisemen and their names were Balthazar, Melchoir, and Gaspar, but in the Bible it simply says that wisemen from the East came to Jerusalem 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.”
What is more significant than how many wisemen there were or what were their names is the sovereignty of God we see in those who were chosen to receive the
announcement of Jesus’ birth, mainly, the shepherds on the hillside at night and these wisemen. You would think that God would have notified the “religious faithful”, the high priest, some of the elite religious leaders of the day, but they like so many others were “in the dark”. Some simple lowly shepherds who weren’t terribly religious and these wisemen from a long way away (other than
Joseph and Mary) were the only ones we are told, who by the grace and sovereignty of God, knew that the very living God, creator of all the universe, the judge of every man’s soul had come in flesh and blood, born as a child in Bethlehem. We could speculate a long time why the Lord God selected only these few to tell, but it should be a reminder to us that the Lord will have mercy on whom He chooses to have mercy just as Jesus was later to repeat in the parable of the workers when the landowner throughout the day continued to hire workers for his farm and then at the end of the day chose to pay them all the same wage.
This morning I want us to consider a few lessons from the story of these wisemen.
First, they came asking: Where is he? When in your life have you asked that question? Where is Jesus? Where is the God of Heaven? Most people only ask that question at a time of death or tragedy, as we saw again after September 11 when people flocked to churches and synagogues and mosques looking for comfort and hope-- looking for a Savior in the midst of their sorrow and pain.
Some asking in anger where is this God of love and comfort? Some asking in guilt and shame from a self-willed life that had no time for religious things -
where is He, the God who determines all of history? We ban Him from our schools and workplaces, we have no time for Him at home and then when war or hardship come, we want His safety and security; we want His blessing and supply.
Some ask the question from an internal yearning to know and understand what this life is all about? They see the stars in the Heavens as part of a magnificent and unexplainably beautiful universe; they hear preacher after preacher proclaiming“the word of God; they see the sinfulness of men; they understand both the ups and downs of life of life as they have experienced them. And as a result of all this and more, these people have a genuine yearning to know- where is He, this one called Jesus, the Savior of the world.
And don’t think they found Jesus in an instant; most scholars believe that the journey of the wisemen took months, even years. It was not an easy journey- travel conditions were at times very difficult due to the weather or to the terrain or the threat of robbery- only the star they saw in the East was their one assurance to carry on the sometimes very difficult and dangerous search. And perhaps for some of you here today, you may feel a kinship to those wisemen in that you too have been on a search to know, to see this Jesus, the Savior of the world.