January 2nd Matthew 2
The wise men go to Jerusalem
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, inquired 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.
Here we have the story of the wise men. We notice first of all that we don’t know how many wise men there were and we are not told they were kings! But they come searching for Jesus. This group were probably descendants of the group that Daniel led in Babylon. It seems as if God was drawing together the whole of the 12 tribes to witness the Birth of the Messiah. We could call them ‘the outcasts of the east’. (‘The outcasts of the west’ were the shepherds.) Their study of the stars had led them west but it was the scriptures that pinpointed the child’s birth place. The ancients saw the stars as the story of redemption. Starting with Virgo and ending in Leo - the whole story was outlined in the stars. (That is why the Sphinx of Egypt had the head of the Virgin and the body of a Lion.) When the Magi found the Messiah they fell down and worshipped him. And they presented their gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh. Gold speaks his deity, Frankincense of his life and ministry (frankincense burns with a bright steady light and giving off a wonderful scent) Myrrh speaks of his embalming. The three together were prophetic.
- Who were the wise men – according to Scripture?
- What was the effect of the coming of the wise men to see the child born King?
- Why do you think that the wise men bring these gifts to Christ?