The Wise Men

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At Christmas Doug decorates our garden pergola with a shining star high above. One evening when Grace was 4 years old she shouted: “Oooo! The star! Mama, let’s be wise men and follow the star to Bethlehem to find Jesus!” Such true words come from her imagination! “Wise men still seek Him…” One of Gracie’s favorite Christmas time traditions is to set up her personal Nativity with the Wise men afar off and each day leading up to Christmas she inches them a little closer to their destination- Baby Jesus.

Matthew Chapter 2 records the Visit of the Magi:

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.” …. they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 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. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.  (Matthew 2: 1-2, 9-12, NIV)

We can gain a lot of wisdom from the wise men. They show us qualities of spiritual journey: Seeking, Worshiping, Giving, and Going.wisemen

The first thing that stands out is: They were looking for Jesus. They didn’t stop seeking until they found Him. I ask myself: How often do I go through my days intentionally looking for Jesus? The wise men epitomize the teaching of Jesus in “Seek ye first…” Keep looking for Him first among all things!

Second: When the Wise Men found Jesus they were overjoyed! And they bowed down and worshiped him. It’s a pretty powerful experience when you encounter Jesus! I know I can say I want more God-encounters and I want to embrace a joy that seeps into my soul and pours out in abundant worship. I ask myself: Do I bow down overjoyed, every day, with every encounter?

004.3.three_kingsThen the Magi: Gave Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Each was an extravagant gift. And again I ask myself: Am I bringing Him extravagant gifts? Am I laying out treasure that will expand His kingdom? Am I giving in a way that will spread the sweet aroma of His love and salvation to anyone close enough to breathe it in? I want to give like that… abundant and savory, extravagant with a lingering sweetness that attracts others to His throne.

Finally, the Magi returned home.  I wonder… can that be it? They really just go home— end of story? That seems a bit anti-climactic. If this were a group of men profoundly overjoyed at the hope of the Messiah, I doubt they would have returned home without spreading stories of their fantastic journey and their encounter with the King.

My study Bible says: “Of the Four Gospels, Matthew alone tells of the visit of the Magi, or Wise men. This incident shows that people from other parts of the world, not just from Israel, were anticipating the Messiah. The Magi’s visit underscores the fact that Jesus came for all people…. The last words of this Gospel spell out that mission very clearly”[i]

What are those words? “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations….” (Matthew 28:18)

Did the Wise Men just have some one-time encounter with God and then go home? I have my doubts. If this was truly a momentous occasion, a real encounter with the Messiah, I bet they went home and spread the good news… that a King who had all authority in heaven and on earth, a King who’s kingdom would never end, had finally come for the world. I would guess their journey to and from Bethlehem was something the Magi couldn’t stop talking about. And then I ask myself. Am I being a good witness? Am I so exuberant with the joy of my encounters with Jesus that everyone who encounters me knows it? 

Here’s the Wise Men’s wisdom for us…magi

Seek Him until you find Him.

Be overjoyed when you do.

Bow down and worship Him.

Give to Him extravagantly.

Go and tell everyone!

Indeed, “Let’s be Wise Men!”

[i] The Holy Bible, New International Version, The Student Bible, Notes by Philip Yancey and Tim Stafford, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI, 2002. p. 1006.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Steve December 9, 2015 at 6:22 pm

Great analogy. It seems like the Wise Men could have been the first Disciples!

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