Summary: Nothing is in God’s Word by accident. The gifts given to Jesus by the Magi tell us some important things about this baby in a manger.
The Magi’s Prescient Gifts (Full Version)
December 20, 2020
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TEXT: Matthew 2:1-12 – “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, 2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. 7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.”
It’s traditional to give gifts at Christmas.
Illus. – One of my favorite types of Christmas gifts are white elephant gifts at Christmas parties. – Here are some great white elephant gifts you might be interested in:
• If you have someone in your life with a full beard and you also like ornaments, Lights Up Beard Ornaments might be a great gift option for him.
• Single guys listen up: If you want to save money on a wedding ring, here’s a great way to do it …with Matching Valentine Candy Rings.
• If you’re a guy from the South, raise your hands. – Well, I have the perfect gift for you: The Red Neck Back Scratcher.
• Well those are funny. – Here’s a serious one: a tree ornament we all want on our trees to commemorate Christmas in 2020: The We Survived 2020 Tree Ornament.
Gift-giving at Christmas is thought to have started from the Magi’s gifts for Jesus at His birth. Who were these Magi, or Wise Men, or Three Kings as they’re sometimes called? We actually know very little about them. Most of our notions about them are based on traditions, and not very reliable ones at that.
• We know from the Bible that they were men. JOKE – Someone said how different it would have been if it were “three wise WOMEN” instead of the “three wise men”: They would have asked for directions; helped deliver the baby; cleaned the stable; made a casserole; and brought practical gifts. When I told Susan this joke, she added that they would have remembered the baby’s name, his length and how much he weighed.
• A popular idea is that they were astrologers, but actually that’s a myth too. JOKE – One Alabama preacher had his own view of their occupation. – He believed they were firemen because the Bible says “They came from ‘afar.’” Actually, it’s now generally believed that the Magi were a priestly caste from Persia.
Most everything else we think we know about the Magi is actually pure speculation. – For instance…
• Did they travel by camel which every Christmas card or picture you’ve ever seen shows them traveling by? Really, we have no idea whatsoever. It was common for people to travel such distances by camel, so this one is probably a pretty good assumption, but the Bible never mentions whether they travelled by camel, on foot, by donkey or in a flying saucer.
• We also really don’t really know how many of them there were. The idea that there were 3 is based solely on the fact of the number of gifts given. Actually, the earliest tradition is inconsistent as to the number of the Magi. The Eastern tradition favored 12. In the West, several of the early Church Fathers accepted 3 Magi. Various early Christian paintings in Rome depict 2, 3 or 4 Magi.