Well let me begin by saying “Merry Christmas.” I hope you have a wonderful day with your families, but most of all I hope at some point today you remember what we celebrate this day. Today the greatest gift was given, the gift of Jesus Christ.
Since it is Christmas I thought I would give you something to think about. Something that has interested me for several years is the story of the “Three Wise Men.” This story is so interesting because what we believe about these men is not totally true. The story of the wise men goes something like this, “Mary delivers the baby Jesus in a manger in Bethlehem. Just after the baby is born a group of shepherd show up, followed by three wise men with gifts.” When we set up nativity scenes there is the baby, Mary, Joseph, some sheep, a shepherd and three men with crowns. Let me give you four things to think of.
Myth #1 – Why “three” wise men? The Bible never tells us an exact number. All the Bible says is that a group of wise men came from the east in search of the Messiah. The Bible never says that there were three of them. There could have been three, but there could have been thirty, or three hundred for that matter. The reason we have always assumed there were three is because there were three gifts given (gold, frankincense and myrrh.)
Myth #2 – Would it surprise you if I told you that the wise men were never at the manger in Bethlehem? Well, they weren’t. In fact when the wise men found Jesus he could have been as old as two years. Sometime after these men saw the star they came to Herod, according to Matthew chapter 2, and asked Herod where the young child was supposed to be born. Of course Herod did not know the answer, so he asked some scholars who told them in Bethlehem. Herod asked what time they saw the star appear, and asked them to come back and tell him where the baby is once they have found him.
In the same chapter of Matthew we are told that the wise men find Mary and the baby in a house, not a manger. They enter the house and worship the baby, presenting unto him gifts. Of course Herod wanted to harm the baby, not worship him, so the wise men never returned him. When Herod determines that the men are not coming back he has all the young children two years old and younger killed, trying to kill the baby king. It very well could be that at this time Jesus was as old as two, since this was the age of the children Herod had killed.
Fact #1 – These men were wise. These men knew what many others in Jerusalem should have known. If a group of men from the east could figure out that the Messiah was born, then why could God’s people in Jerusalem not figure this out? What a shame that the people of God were not looking for Him. Daniel figured it out; the people in Jerusalem should have as well.
It has been said that wise men still search for Jesus. What a shame it will be when one day soon the Lord Jesus appears to call His church home, and God’s people are not looking for him. It will take many by surprise when Jesus comes to the earth the second time.
Fact #2 – These men were determined. It took these men up to two years to find this child. They were determined that no matter how long it took, or how far they had to journey, they would find the Messiah. Because they never gave up they were blessed with the experience of seeing the Son of God. They worshipped Him, and no doubt they went away telling everyone the experience they had with God.
How determined are we to find Him? Are we determined enough to take the time to look for Him? So many times we give up because the journey is long and difficult. Those who are determined enough to continue to search for Him are rewarded with a wonderful experience, the experience of seeing, worshipping, and forever having their lives changed by the presence of the Son of God.