Summary: What a miracle that God draws the Wise Men to see and worship Jesus from hundreds of miles away!
1.6.19 Matthew 2:1-12 - Epiphany
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, when Herod was king, Wise Men from the east came to Jerusalem. They asked, 2 “Where is he who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When King Herod heard this, he was alarmed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 He gathered together all the people’s chief priests and experts in the law. He asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, because this was written through the prophet: 6 You, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are certainly not least among the rulers of Judah: because out of you will come a ruler, who will shepherd my people, Israel.” 7 Then Herod secretly summoned the Wise Men and found out from them exactly when the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you find him, report to me, so that I may also go and worship him.” 9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. Then the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them, until it stood still over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with overwhelming joy. 11 After they went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 Since they had been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back to their own country by another route.
God Wants All of Us to See the Light
1 Timothy 2:4 says that God “wants all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” But sometimes it is hard to believe, especially when you think about the thousands of people who are born into a false religion in some of the remotest parts of the earth. What chance do they have of coming to faith in Jesus? Today shows us that nothing is impossible with God. It shows us that God can indeed save anyone from anywhere and at any time. The Wise Men come from hundreds of miles away: perhaps Iran or Iraq: to find Jesus.
The Wise Men were among the most highly placed people of their society, especially known for their studies of the planets and how they moved - astronomy and astrology. Nowadays we associate such people with superstition and horoscopes. They have no interest in Jesus or the Bible. Yet God was able to draw these men from the middle of their class, probably among many unbelievers, to come and find Jesus!
Consider how little information they have. All they have is a star, a special kind of star, that rose in their west. Somehow they knew that this star signified that the Messiah had been born. They called it “his star.” Maybe they received this revelation from Daniel’s time, when he lived among the Jewish captives as a wise man in Babylon. We don’t know. What we do know is that they took this star and this prophecy seriously. They didn’t just look at the Messiah as the King of the Jews, for they said straight out that they came “to worship Him.”
This shows us that there are no obstacles that are too great for our God to overcome. In Acts 17 Paul said to the men of Athens that God “determined the appointed times and the boundaries where they would live. He did this so they would seek God and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘Indeed, we are also his offspring.’ He also said in Romans 1 that God’s “invisible characteristics—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, because they are understood from the things he made. As a result, people are without excuse.” But nature only gets you so far. It builds curiosity and strikes fear. It makes people search, but it can’t make people find. When the star disappeared, the Wise Men were lost.
Imagine this caravan of camels coming into Jerusalem, looking for the King of the Jews who had just been born. They probably would have dressed much differently than the typical Jew in Israel. Maybe they themselves looked very regal. That’s the way I would envision them. “Where is the King of the Jews who has been born?”, they asked. Imagine the surprise to the Wise Men when the people of Jerusalem had no clue. They had a long time to think about and ponder what they would find when they got to Israel. Perhaps they envisioned a special palace having been built for the King, with all of Israel coming to adore Him. But nobody knew what the Wise Men were talking about. Wouldn’t you have been disappointed? Wouldn’t you have wondered or thought to yourself, “Maybe this whole prophecy was a farce!”