Summary: It wasn't just wise men who had gifts for the Lord. Find out who the three wise women were, what their gifts were, and what they can teach all of us, even now!
The Three Wise Women -- Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna
Last week we spoke about the Magi who came and gave gifts to Jesus after He was born. We think of them as the “Three Wise Men”, even though we really don’t know how many there were. Each of the Magi’s gifts had a specific meaning and relevance to Christ the person, Christ the Son of God, and Christ the sacrificial lamb. They travelled a long distance to publically worship Him, then left. We don’t know their names; in fact, all we know is in 12 verses of Matthew.
Tonight, though, I want to share the stories of the three wise women of Christ’s birth, and they gifts they brought. These women were mentioned multiple times in multiple gospels, and were even mentioned by name. In fact, much more time is spent discussing these three women than the Magi. Any guesses on who the three wise women were?
Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna.
Let’s start with Elizabeth. Some of you may remember me saying several weeks go that I’m a big believer that names have meaning, and I chose the name “Elizabeth” for my daughter for a reason. The name “Elizabeth” means “Promise of God” or “Fulfilment of God” -- in this case, “fulfilment” is referring to a promise that God has already kept. Keep that in mind as we read Luke 1:5-7:
“5In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 7But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.”
We’re introduced to Elizabeth through her husband, Zechariah; one of the priests of Judea. We’re told that they were both descendants of priests (Zechariah through Abijah, Elizabeth through Aaron), and were righteous and blameless. Sound like pretty good people! But, verse 7 shows that things weren’t all rainbows and puppydogs for them -- Elizabeth could not get pregnant, and they were both very old.
Just to put things in perspective, “very old” here probably means somewhere in their seventies or eighties. Never got pregnant, never had any children. Today, that doesn’t seem like that big of a deal -- there are a lot of people out there with no children, right? Back then, though, this was a huge issue. Back then, getting pregnant was considered a blessing from God -- if you’re married and you can’t get pregnant, then obviously God is withholding His blessing from your life, right? You must be filled with sin! Elizabeth was obviously a terrible person! I can see the gossipers now -- wondering if the sin belonged to Elizabeth, or Zechariah; or both of them! Nasty looks behind their backs, pitying looks to their face.
How many of you can relate to doing your best to live for the Lord, but despite everything people still make up rumors about you, and assume you have sin because your walk doesn’t look like theirs?