Summary: What’s at the end of the Star?
Christmas Characters #4 - The Wise Men - 9th December 2007 pm
From our earliest memories of the Christmas story, we have heard of the “Magi” (Wise Men) who came to visit Christ, but what do we really know about them? Where did they come from? Why were they interested in a King born in Palestine? Who were they? There is a great deal of myth & mystery about them.
The word for wise men in the Greek is magos and it means magician, oriental scientist - 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.
Theses Wise Men Were: Magi, not magicians; Astronomers, not astrologers; Scientists, not wizards. They were probably Religious Philosophers from Persia who had become familiar with Jewish prophecies through contact with the writings of Daniel, Jeremiah, Ezra and other Jews scattered throughout the east. They must have been familiar with Scripture.
Maybe they were looking for someone who would bring world peace and in their search for answers read God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 22:18 In your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.
Maybe they had read Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the govern-ment shall be upon His shoulder. and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
They may have read from the books of the law in Numbers 24:17 I shall see him but not now. I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a star out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel. Revelation 22:16 says Jesus is the bright and morning star.
They may have also read Isaiah 60:3 And the gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
Although these magi were gentiles, the fulfilment of God’s promise to the Prophets and to Abraham greatly interested them.
One legend says that these men were kings, another says that they represented the three races of mankind: the Japhetic, the Hamitic and the Semitic. According to another tradition the names of the magi were Casper, Melchoir and Balthazar.
Regardless of how many they were, who they were, where they lived or what they were called, the important thing is what they did. They followed the star that would guide them to the Messiah. I wonder what they expected to find at the end of the star?
Verses 11 – They came to the house…. Joseph has moved his family from the temporary dwelling place where Christ was born to a house – it would not have been much of a house considering how poor the family was..
What if you follow a star and end up in a shack?
What happens when you’ve been following a star and it leads you to a place you just were not expecting? What happens when all of a sudden, after thinking that something grand and glorious would be at the other end, you end up at a poor run down house? And there, instead of a palace and a king on a throne, you find a child. It is nothing like you expected, how do you react?
Were the wise men disappointed when they finally ended up in Bethlehem? We know that they were expecting a mansion or a royal court Verse 1-2. They stop at Herod’s palace, in the main city Jerusalem, to find out about this star and the child who was to be born.
Every one of us has had a time in our lives when we’ve followed a star. Everything looked so promising, but we were to find out at the end that we were in a shack.
I don’t know how many times I had been passed over for promotion in work. I had attended all the right courses, had done all the right things, had the right experience and qualifications but the job would always go to someone else. Looking back now I realise that I was following a star and had ended up in a shack. Have you ever been there?
The wonderful thing about the Christmas story of the wise men is what they do when they arrive at the house. Through their actions they teach us three things. Wise men throughout the ages have done these three things when they come to a shack – to a place or situation that isn’t exactly what they were expecting.
I. When Wise Men Find A Shack, They Look for God
Verse 11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: