Summary: The wise men were more than Magi, they followed the will of God and made many wise decisions to search for their Lord.
If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us a teacher. If our greatest need had been technology, He would have sent us an inventor. If our greatest need had been money, we would have received a banker. If our greatest need had been entertainment, God would have sent us an entertainer. But, God didn’t send us a teacher, an inventor, a banker or an entertainer. Our greatest need was forgiveness, so he sent us a savior. (Adopted from Mike Fogerson, “When Christmas Isn’t All It’s Cracked UP to Be”, http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermon.asp?SermonID=60781&libronix=1)
The story of Christmas is more than just the birth of a child in a stable. It’s a new beginning for Jews and gentiles, a new beginning for the entire human race. But, in that small town of Bethlehem it wasn’t as easy to see what Jesus would accomplish. Yet, he was definitely something special.
Part of the story of Christmas includes the wise men and their search for the King of the Jews. They knew He was something unique and went out of their way to find the child king. The Greek word used to describe these men is ìÜãïé or magi. It’s this same root word that gives us the words magician and magistrate. Although we traditionally think of there being three wise men because there are three gifts, we don’t know how many made the journey. What we do know is that they were from the East, possibly from what today is Iraq. We also know that as magi, they were well respected men as scientists, mathematicians, astronomers and engineers. As learned men, we know that they would have looked at the evidence they found, and began their search.
We like to think of the wise men as part of the nativity scene. But, they weren’t present the night Jesus was born. Instead, they arrived on the scene about one to two years after Jesus’ birth. Tonight, I’d like to look at this group of men who never made it to witness the wonderful event. But, they took great risk, paid a great price and spent many months of their lives to pay special homage to this babe of Bethlehem. These wise men weren’t wise just because of their status as magi. They made many wise decisions that led them to our Lord. Journeys like this will change you forever.
Sought after the King of the Jews
First, the wise men recognized that God was at work here.
These men of science and the stars were brought to a decision to seek out and find “the King of the Jews”. They didn’t have all the facts when they started, but they had enough to know they needed to search.
Not every man of science has been led to acknowledge God; many in pride have turned away from the Lord, but these men were brought to a conviction not only of God’s existence but of God’s active dealing in the affairs of men.
God gives men enough light that they might search for more. Sometimes we get the idea that the only place God can speak to us is in church and that’s just not true. God works through the many circumstances of our life to direct our attention to him; and quite often those circumstances involve everyday life.
Through Biblical history, He spoke to many in unexpected places. He spoke to Moses when he was tending his sheep, Gideon when harvesting wheat, the great Apostle Peter as he cleaned his nets after a night of fishing, Matthew as he collected taxes and the wise men as they studied the stars. God speaks to people wherever they are. If God has spoken to you, you don’t need to know all the answers. The wise men were wise when they sought to begin their search. (Adopted from Michael Davidson, “What Made These Wise Men So Wise?”, http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermon.asp?SermonID=63978&libronix=1)
Great determination in the journey
The magi showed a lot of determination in their search. It’s possible these men may have traveled up to 1000 miles on their trek. In Matthew 2:16 we’re told that Herod decided to kill all boy children 2 years old and younger so apparently from the time the star first appeared it took them almost two years to locate where Christ was. Their search was a long and diligent one. That just means they were determined to search until they found the answer. This wasn’t a religious fad. Nor was it a whim of the moment . They would see their search through to the end. (Michael Davidson, “What Made These Wise Men So Wise?”, http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermon.asp?SermonID=63978&libronix=1)
The cost of their journey was quite high as well. To travel the great distances, caravan’s were the way to go, along with the support of servants, animals and handlers. There could have been as many as 300 people traveling for 2 years in search of the savior.