Summary: This Sermon is about the Wise Men visit to baby Jesus. It also at the end talks about moving into the new year.
Matthew 2: 1-2; 7-15
Historians tell us that the wise men, also known as magi, were men belonging to the educated classes. They were of noble birth, educated, wealthy, and influential. They were philosophers, the counselors to rulers, learned in all the wisdom of the ancient East. The wise men who came seeking the Christ child were upright men of integrity.
They had apparently studied the Hebrew Scriptures and found there a clear transcript of truth. In particular, the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament must have claimed their attention, and among these they found the words of Balaam: “A Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of Israel” (Numbers 24:17, NKJV). They certainly were acquainted with the prophecy of Micah: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel” (Micah 5:2, NKJV; see also Matthew 2:5, 6). They probably also knew and understood the time prophecy of Daniel regarding the appearance of the Messiah (see Daniel 9:25, 26) and came to the conclusion that His coming was near.
A mysterious light appeared in the sky which became a luminous star that persisted in the western heavens (see Matthew 2:1, 2). Impressed with its importance, the wise men turned once more to the sacred scrolls. As they tried to understand the meaning of the sacred writings, they determined to go in search of the Messiah. Like Abraham, they knew not at first where they were to go, but followed as the guiding star led them on their way
They traveled 800 to 900 miles to visit Jesus. It wasn’t an easy journey either. And they probably had a fairly large caravan to be able to travel safely and have the needed things for that long of a journey. Maybe from Yemen, Babylon or Persia.
The Greek Text or the New Testament tells us these things about them:
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." (NIV)
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. (NIV)
And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. (NIV)
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. (KJV)
What does all this tell us?
We have a young poor carpenter and brick mason with a wife of no earthly means. God gave them a baby to provide for and above that they knew he was extremely special because of their encounter with God. Joseph was to provide and protect his wife and this wonderful baby in their care. At the same time Joseph had a young wife and they were in a different city from where he had a business and above all he had no clientele.
He could have been stressed don't you think. And what of Mary. Away from home which could mean no help with this beautiful child. Relatives are nice but to get satisfying answers and physical help with a new baby a mother and aunts or older sisters would have been a wonderful thing to have close by.
Let's face it. Today we would call them destitute. They had taken on this burden for a lack of a better word. This baby had changed their lives forever. They loved the child but a hungry belly is a hungry belly.
The grubbed out a living for 42 days or up to two years; nobody really knows. Walking by faith. Walking in a world that was hard and dangerous. Just getting up and moving forward because there were no other choices for men and women and children and for a family.
They trusted God when he called and Mary and Joseph accepted what he ask them to do. Now look where they were. But the Bible tells us that they were in the temple to have Jesus circumcised at 8 days old, they were there for when it was time for Mary to offer a sacrifice because of her impurity of child birth. They walked into the future waiting to see what the future was going to offer them.