Summary: A message to encourage seekers to continue their pursuit of God.
"Wise Men Still Seek Him"
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, 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.
Introduction: One of the wisest men who ever lived wrote that "there is nothing new under the sun," so with that in mind I have borrowed a phrase that has been used in a book and in articles that have been written in the past but which are still relevant today. Wise Men Still Seek Him is just as important today as it was 2,000 years ago when the Wise Men followed the Star and found the Christ child. Let's examine this text and seek out the truths found therein. First, let's examine:
I. The Wise Men's Pursuit vs 1-9
a. Who were they?
These "Kings" are believed to have been ancient astronomers who studied the stars and had been following "the star" for several months. The New Testament does not give the names of the Magi. However, traditions and legends identify a variety of different names for them. In the Western Christian church, they have been all regarded as saints: Church tradition tells us the three Magi are Melchior (/ˈmɛlkiˌɔːr/; a Persian scholar; Caspar (/ˈkæspər/; an Indian scholar; Balthazar (/ˈbælθəˌzɑːr/; a Babylonian scholar. Encyclopædia Britannica states: "according to Western church tradition, Balthasar is often represented as a king of Arabia, Melchior as a king of Persia, and Gaspar as a king of India."
As part of their religion, thought to be Zoroastrianism, these scholars/priests/kings/ paid particular attention to the stars and gained an international reputation for astrology, which was at that time highly regarded as a science. Their religious practices and use of astrology caused derivatives of the term Magi to be applied to the occult in general and led to the English term magic, although Zoroastrianism was in fact strongly opposed to sorcery.
b. How did they get there?
The wise men's journey would have taken several months; a journey filled with rigor and risk. It would have required planning, and it would have been at great expense. They followed a star that moved not East and West but North and South. There have been many attempts to explain the Christmas Star scientifically, and three ideas will be mentioned here.
1. Some scholars think this "star" was a comet, an object traditionally connected with important events in history, such as the birth of kings. However, records of comet sightings do not match up with the Lord's birth. For example, Halley's Comet was present in 11 B.C., but the first Christmas took place around 5 to 7 B.C.
2. Others believe that the Star of Bethlehem was a conjunction or alignment of planets in the night sky. Since planets orbit the sun at different speeds and distances, they occasionally seem to approach each other closely. However, multiple planets do not look like a single light source, as described in Scripture. Also, planet alignments are rather frequent and therefore not that unusual. There was a alignment of Jupiter and Saturn in 6 B.C., but an even closer gathering in 66 B.C., much too early!