The Visit of The Wise Men
Text: Matthew 2 :1-23
Matthew began the writing of his Gospel with very bold statements concerning the birth of Jesus! He presented Him as The Divine Son of David. He argued strongly about the essential involvement of the Holy Spirit. He also declared that the birth of Jesus was decreed by none other than the Lord God Himself. These were extraordinarily bold declarations indeed!
Was Matthew alone in his views? In the second chapter of his Gospel, Matthew introduced a group of people called “The Wise Men”.
“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of
Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold,
wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,
saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the
East and have come to worship Him.'”
None other than the Messiah Himself was born in Bethlehem of Judea. One would imagine that the whole nation would be excited about the birth of Jesus! Yet, the sad fact was that few seemed to care about the promise of God to send a Messiah-Redeemer.
SO FEW INTERESTED
The synoptist Luke wrote in his Gospel the small number of people who rejoiced in the Birth of Jesus the Messiah.
1. Zechariah and Elizabeth (Luke 1)
Of course they would know about the birth of Jesus. Their own son John was a special gift from the Lord. He was destined to be the forerunner of the Messiah.
2. The Shepherds (Luke 2:8-20)
The small group of shepherds watching over their flocks at night was informed about the birth of the Saviour. With great excitement in their hearts, they rushed to Bethlehem to see if what the angel said was indeed true. When they saw Jesus, their hearts leapt with joy! They went out to proclaim to others the Birth of Jesus the Messiah.
3. Devout Simeon (Luke 2:25-35)
Old Simeon was given a special promise from the Lord that he would not see death till he sighted the Promised Messiah. When Jesus was dedicated at the Temple, Simeon was led by the Spirit of God to go there. The moment he looked at Jesus and took Him in his arms, he knew that this Child was indeed none other than the Saviour!
4. The prophetess Anna (Luke 2:36-38)
Prophetess that she was, Anna recognized Jesus for who He was! This was no ordinary child dedicated to the Lord. This Child brought by the humble parents was none other than the Messiah Himself.
5. Joseph and Mary (Luke 1:26-38; Matthew 1:18-25)
Of course we would have to include Mary and Joseph, the parents of Jesus in the group of people who believed that the Messiah had been born!
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE VISIT OF THE MAGI
Israel’s Messiah had been born! Yet, the whole nation seemed oblivious to this fact. Worse, they seemed indifferent!
The visit of the Magi (Wise Men) was significant for the following reasons:-
1. A Study of Great Contrast
Should not Israel show some interest in the birth of the Messiah? Luke mentioned the following facts:
a. Zacharias and Elizabeth bore good testimony at the naming ceremony of their son. They spoke of John as the forerunner of the Messiah (Luke 1:67-80).
b. The Shepherds after they had seen Jesus went away “glorifying and praising God” (Luke 2:20).
c. Simeon and Anna bore strong testimony concerning Jesus (Luke 1:25-38)
The testimonies of these people seemed to have made little or no impact on the nation of Israel, as far as one can tell. Yet, there were these Wise Men who had obviously travelled from a far country just to pay homage to Jesus. Outsiders and Gentiles to boot had made every effort to see and to worship Jesus! Sadly, Israel as a nation did not even seem to care about the Birth of Jesus at all.
2. Amazing Faith of the Wise Men
How much did the Wise Men know about Jesus as the Messiah? Probably not a whole lot, for they searched for Him in Jerusalem instead of in Bethlehem! Boldly they declared their mission to Herod, not realizing that they were speaking to a cruel and vindictive king.
The faith of the Wise Men may be seen in the way they speak about Jesus.
a. They called Him “The King of the Jews” (Matthew 2:2).
b. They spoke of having seen His natal star in the East (Matthew 2:2).
c. They also spoke of traveling all the way to offer worship to Baby Jesus (Matthew 2:2).
WHAT IS OUR REGARD FOR JESUS?
How the Church often mirrors ancient Israel in so many respects! So few understand and appreciate Jesus for all that He is! Many take Jesus far too much for granted! How we need to have a fresh sense of appreciation of the Lord Jesus Christ!