Lessons from the Wise Men – part 1

“Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea during the time when Herod was king. After Jesus was born, some wise men from the east came to Jerusalem.”
Matthew 2:1 ERV

I’ve been spending some time meditating on the Christmas account and have enjoyed focusing on the wise men. Over the years we’ve adopted the idea that there were three wise men (probably because of the three types of gifts mentioned) but the Bible doesn’t say how many there were – it could have been far more than three. Then again, thinking about what they did I can’t imagine that there would have been too many of them.

The first thing that stands out to me is that the Bible calls them wise men, and it describes what they did: they knew the prophecies and sought after Jesus to worship Him. This was a very wise thing to do.

“They asked people, “Where is the child who has been born to be the king of the Jews? We saw the star that shows He was born. We saw it rise in the sky in the east and have come to worship Him.”
Matthew 2:2 ERV

It’s probable that the wise men were from Persia and that they learnt of the prophecies of the Messiah because of Daniel’s influence about 600 years prior after he was carried into captivity in Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar and rose from a position of a slave to one of influence and prominence in that kingdom.

These wise men were not Jews but were diligent in their study of Jewish Scripture to the degree that they were expectant of the coming Messiah (more than the Jews were) and went through a great deal of effort and expense to seek after Him. If they were from Persia (modern day Iran) they would have travelled more than 1300 km to worship Jesus.

There aren’t many people who would study scripture (not part of their religion) and then go through a great deal of effort and expense to travel more than 1300 km to seek and find a baby, and worship Him. And yet the Bible calls them wise.

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