Summary: Three aspects of a Wise Man 1. Journey of Faith 2. Journey of Worship 3. Journey of Change
Christmas Wisdom: The Story of the Wise Men
"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, 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.’ When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 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. So they said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: ’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.’ Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 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.’ 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. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 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. Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way." Matthew 2:1-12 (NKJV)
The story of the wise men is a story that is shrouded in mystery. From tradition we seem to know all the facts and details. But as we study the scripture we find that there are a lot of questions we can not answer about the wise men from the Biblical text. For example:
How many were there? We don’t know.
Where did they come from? We don’t know.
How long did their journey take? We don’t know.
They seem to just show up mysteriously – and just as mysteriously they are gone. But one thing I am certain about is that the number of wise men and women increases in every generation as people continue to seek the Christ. Let’s look at three facts that we can learn from the story of the wise men.
1. A wise man’s journey is one of FAITH.
"Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East.”
What would prompt someone to leave the comfort of their homes to go on a dangerous journey? Romance? Yes. Wealth? Most definitely. But faith? Yes – faith. “Where is He who has been born the King of the Jews?” What a probing question – there is no doubt in their language that He had been born – the question is “Where is He?” They had seen the star – the evidence was real – now where is He? They had faith that He was alive – that He existed – now all they needed to do was to find Him. Their purpose was established – find Him. And so they were willing to risk everything to find Him. They were willing to leave the safety of their homes – to risk a pearliest journey to seek a King.
Can you imagine their neighbor’s reaction? “Are you going on a journey?” “Yes.” “Where are you going?” “We don’t know for sure.” “How far is it?” “Well we don’t know that either.” How long are you going to be gone?” Well were not quite sure on that either.” “Boy for wise men you sure don’t much do you?”
But you know they must have said the same things to Abraham when he left his home for the Promised Land. They must have said the same things to Noah who was building an ark – even though it had never rained in the history of the earth up till that point. They must have said the same kind of things to Peter, Andrew, John and James when they left the fishing nets to become fishers of men. What are you crazy? Are you insane? Are you out of your minds? No not crazy – not insane – not out of their minds – men of faith.
God’s journeys always involve FAITH.
It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.