Summary: This is the 2nd in a 4 part series for the Christmas Season. Each message deals with the kind of heart that we must have if we truly want to see who Jesus is and be in his presence while the rest of the world sleeps in darkness.
What Does It Take to See Jesus?
Christmas Series 2011
Part 2 – We Need the Heart of the Wise Men
One of the greatest statements in recent years concerning the appearance of the Wise Men in the story of the Birth of the Christ Child is this: “Wise Men Still Seek Him”.
Psalms 111:10, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever."
What could be wiser to understand the One who made everything out of nothing and to know the One who created the very life that we life?
What more worthy study could we make than to know the Word that our Creator has given us that we may come to know the very heart, mind and thoughts of God and get a clear picture of his nature?
What wisdom of this world could compare to the One who is the source of all that wisdom; for God’s ways are on a much grander and more righteous scale?
Isaiah 55:8-9, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Just to know Him more; to be nearer to the Lord with each passing day; and as Paul said in Philippians 3:10, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death…"
That must be the ultimate goal of every human being; to know our Great God to the very best of our ability. In order to gain that knowledge a number of things must be within our hearts.
As we examine the hearts of the Wise Men who came to see Jesus, let us take note of what was in their hearts, for it is those very same things that we must have within us if we are to see Jesus!
Picking up the story of the birth of Jesus in Matthew chapter 2 we see where the Wise Men enter the scene.
Matthew 2:1, "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,"
Why are these men called “Three Kings”, or “Wise Men”, or in other places, “Magi”; and where did they come from?
According to the most accepted studies, these probably from an area which is now in either Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia or Yemen. Although they are often called the 'Three Kings', the Bible does not say how many there were, or that they were kings. One theory is that they might have been Kings of the Yemen, since during this time the Kings of Yemen were Jews. Three is only a guess because they brought with them three gifts: but there could have been less than three or many more than three. However many there were of them, they probably would have had a lot servants with them, and would probably have traveled in a fairly large caravan as an entourage.
They were certainly men of great learning. The word “Magi”, which is often used to describe them, comes from the Greek word 'magos' (where the english word 'magic' comes from). This word, Magos , finds its own roots in the language of the Persians and comes from the old Persian word 'Magupati'. This was the title given to priests in a sect of the ancient Persian religions such as Zoroastrianism. Today we would called them astrologers. Back then astronomy and astrology were part of the same general scientific study. The magi would have followed the patterns of the stars religiously. They would have also probably been very wealthy men and were held in high esteem in their own society and even by people who weren't from their country or religion.
They had seen an unusual new star in the sky, and knew, from their studies, that it told of the birth of a special king. No one really knows what the new star is the sky was, and there are many theories including comets, supernovas, a conjunction of planets or something supernatural!
How could they have predicted the coming of a new king in Israel from the appearance of this special star in the sky?
These men, being scientists, astronomers and maybe even of Jewish descent were very familiar with the Old Testament writings of the Hebrews. Among those writings were those of King David who wrote most of the Psalms. If we look at the 19th Psalms we can see where they would have gained some of their knowledge of what God was doing in the earth.