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Summary: The message explains the reasons why the magi are called wise men.

Why Are the Magi Called Wise?

Matthew 2:1-12

Pastor Don Jones

One thing has always bothered me about the story of the magi. They are called wise men. What bothers me is the word wise. These men were adept in the magical arts, they were at best governors or kings from a pagan nation and on top of that they were probably astrologers as well as astronomers. They looked to the skies for omens and signs.

From what I have read in the Old Testament they should have been rejected by God not invited into the presence of the Son of God. So what is it that makes them acceptable much less wise?

They Were Seeking

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

One of the most evident marks of wisdom is they sought the King. Many scholars agree the magi showed up approximately 2 years later. Why, because their journey was a long one.

They traveled great distances because they knew at the end of their journey they would find the one and only King. They wanted to see for themselves. They went through perilous country at great time and expense so they could see. Matthew 6:33 says,

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Larry Lea in his book Wisdom says, “Wisdom is the God-given ability to perceive the true nature of a matter and implement the will of God in that matter”

If you want to live wisely this year the first thing you need to do is seek the kingdom. If you are willing to do that one step you will be free from worry because "everything else will be given as well".

I am pleased that some of you travel a great distance to get here on Sunday morning. It is a sign of seeking out the face of God. I am distressed when people won’t travel 4-5 miles because it is too far. Are they really seeking?

They Worshipped

Not only did they come seeking, the purpose of their seeking was worship. They wanted to see the King because they wanted to worship the King. It is amazing to me that these pagan magicians recognized enough of God’s work that they knew they had to worship when they got there.

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.

The story is told of two goats that met each other on a narrow ledge just wide enough for one goat to pass. The two goats faced each other and wondered, "What shall we do?" They could not back up that would be too dangerous. They could not go around because the ledge was too narrow. Now, if the goats had no more sense than humans they would have began butting each other until one fell over the ledge.

However, goats have a lot of sense, more than some people. What they did: one goat lay down and let the other walk over him. There must be a willingness to lay down for the other to walk over. Humans would have been arguing "Who" was to lie down. How hard it is for us humans to Humble Ourselves for the good of others.

How many people believe in God? The statistic is now as high as 95%. Wow, if that were the case we would have to have 10 services on Sunday alone to meet the demand. Trouble is, these who say they do, don’t believe in God because they do not worship Him.

The magi were wise because they knew their need to worship the King once they found Him. How many come here on Sunday to see friends and visit, clear a conscience, or come out of sheer habit. We need to come on Sunday because we know God is God and He alone is worth of worship. We humble ourselves before Him. If we do, we will take the second step to being wise in 2007.

They Sacrificed

When the magi had bowed in worship, they opened the gifts for the King. They sacrificed a great deal for Him.

Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.

The gifts that the magi brought were kingly gifts. They were very expensive, so much so, the normal person could not have purchased one, much less three. It is said that the money from their gifts supported the family for the years they had to flee for safety.

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Bruce Ball

commented on Dec 28, 2006

Don, an excellent sermon giving the correct slant on an old saying. Very Good!

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