What Made These Wise Men So Wise?

What Made These Wise Men So Wise?

By Henry Nelson

 

 

 

Matthew 2:1-2:12“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem2and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of theJews? We saw his star in the east[b] and have come to worship him.”3”When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.4When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ[c] was to be born.5″In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:”{{more}} 6” ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,6are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;6for out of you will come a ruler6who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’7”Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”9”After they had heard the king, 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.10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.11On 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.12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.”The day after Thanksgiving Day, is known as the busiest shopping day of the year. From all the reports I have seen, the malls were full of shoppers. You know what that means do not you? American men are once more under incredible stress.In a recent article, British psychologist David Lewis reports that shopping is hazardous to men’s health. He tested volunteers by sending them out Christmas shopping. He recorded blood pressure rates that “you would expect to see in a fighter pilot going into combat.” According to this same test, only one in four women showed any significant signs of stress from shopping just one of many gender differences in America today. The question has been posed: “What would have happened if there had been Three Wise Women instead of Three Wise Men?” The answer: They would have asked directions immediately upon commencing their trip, which would have allowed them to arrive on time; they would have helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole and brought cute little outfits that baby Jesus could have worn on his trip home.As it happened, they were wise men and while we think of these men as part of the Christmas story, they were not present on that first Christmas. They did not arrive on the scene till well over a year later. Starting this morning and going through the month of December I would like for us to consider a group of people, who while we think of them as being part of the Christmas story, never made it as witnesses to the event. This morning we will be looking at a group of men we know as the wise men. How many were there? Most assume three but there may have been more. We do not know. Who were they? They were called “Magi” . As such they were devoted to the study of the stars, but more than that, we do not know. Where were they from? Some have suggested Arabia Babylon Persia; We do not know.There is so much about these men that remain a mystery even to this day. All that we really know about these men is that they were called wise men. The question I would like to pose this morning is what makes these wise men so wise? And even more to the point, how can we be just as wise today?They Were Wise In Their Decision To Search For Jesus. They Recognized God at Work in the World Surrounding Them. The wise men, these men of science and the stars were brought to a decision to seek out and find “the King of the Jews”. They did not have all the facts when they started, but they had enough to know they needed to search. Not every man of science has been led to acknowledge God; many in pride have turned away from the Lord, but these men were brought to a conviction not only of God’s existence but of God’s active dealing in the affairs of men. Romans: I and Psalms 19 speak of God’s power and creative handiwork demonstrated in the heavens. As they applied themselves to observing the heavens their attention was drawn to one particular star. Some of our modern men of science have offered conjecture concerning this “star.” They have suggested that it was a comet, or a star that went nova, or perhaps a special alignment of the planets. For myself, I do not have to understand how God worked a particular miracle before accepting it. In the beginning our God spoke the entire universe into existence so I really do not think it was too terribly difficult for the Lord to arrange the unique qualities displayed by this star to reveal the fact that He was in process of something incredibly fantastic in the world of men. God gives men enough light that they might search for more. Sometimes we get the idea that the only place God can speak to us is in church. That is not true. God works through the many circumstances of our life to direct our attention to him; and quite often those circumstances involve our place of employment. Amen! Moses was tending sheep. Gideon was harvesting wheat. Peter was cleaning nets after a night of fishing. Matthew was at a table collecting taxes. Wise Men were in their study of the stars.Has God spoken to you down where you work? Things have happened and now you are starting to question your life. What are you about? What is the purpose of it all? God speaks to men at their work. If God has spoken to you, please know that you do not need to know all the answers, but you do need to begin your search. They recognized God at work in the word revealed to them. At the time when these wise men made their search the Old Testament was at their disposal. We have no way of knowing just how much of the Word they had actually read; but one thing we know they had to have enough knowledge of scripture to know that a “Messiah” was coming. They did not have all the answers, but they had enough to give their souls a hunger for more. They had enough to decide to begin their search. You and I have so much more information than these men did. We have the complete inerrant, infallible Word of God both the Old and New Testaments. God wants to speak to you, if you are willing to listen. Maybe there is a verse, or even just a phrase that God has running through your mind. Will you let the Spirit of God speak to you? Are you a wise man or wise woman who will listen to God?Where are you in your search? If you are without the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior, please do your soul a favor and seek out the truth about Jesus. Get in this book and read. Write your questions down. Put down all your reasons why you do not believe and cannot believe and then challenge God to prove you wrong! Let God speak to you through His Word.They were wise in the way they searched for Jesus. They were determined in their search. It is possible these men may have traveled up to 1000 miles on their trek. In Matthew 2:16 in the bible, we are told that Herod decided to kill all boy children 2 years old and younger so apparently from the time the star first appeared it took them almost two years to locate where Christ was. Their search was a long and a diligent one. That just means they were determined to search until they found the answer. This was not a religious fad. Nor was it a whim of the moment. They would see their search through to the end. Are you determined like that in your spiritual search?Were they the objects of ridicule for chasing a star, are you? Perhaps they were ridiculed, but if so, it did not deter them from their purpose. Was this journey costly? No doubt it was; they would need to provide food and lodging for that entire period of time. Did they ever grow tired? Were there times of sickness? Did they ever get discouraged? Did they ever feel like quitting? I suspect the answer to all these questions is “yes;” but they persevered. When I am hungry I look in the cookie jar, refrigerator, cabinet freezer. I just keep looking until I find something good to eat. Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled”. Amen! They were discerning in their search. These men were wise in seeking counsel; wise in discerning what to accept and what to reject. When given audience with Herod they heard from Herod’s wise men. The king’s men were wise in head, but not in heart. They related the testimony from Scripture of where the Messiah would be born in Matthew 2:5-6 with Micah 5:2. The wise men who were truly wise were willing to accept this as direction for the next leg of their journey.They were also wise enough to discount the emptiness of the King’s words. King Herod posed as a fellow “seeker” when he told them in Matthew 2:8, that when they found this Messiah that he would also come and worship. Fine sounding words, but they came out of a heart of jealousy and hypocrisy. These wise men would be no part of it. They were on a mission and would not be sidetracked, not even by their counselor. God led these men away from the trap that was set for them; and God will direct you in your search, if you will ask Him. Will you? Not everyone giving spiritual counsel will give you the truth and not everyone who gives you the truth is willing to live it themselves. You need discernment if you would be as wise as these men you meet in the pages of Matthew. Amen!They were dependent in their search. God did indeed direct these men as he will you, if you ask him to, but what a surprising place they were led to! It is one thing to start the search; it is something else to accept where the search leads. They would not be side tracked by Lust of the Flesh; self pleasure and ease was in the courts of Herod. Hardship and danger lay on the road to Bethlehem and their trip home hiding from the spies of the King. Does God’s answer for you need to be soft and easy and pleasurable? Are you the kind of person who is always asking “What do I get out of this??” God’s leading may be difficult for you to accept. They would not be side tracked by lust of the eyes. They were wise enough to know the difference between reality and appearances. Christ did not look like a king; he looked like a poor Jewish boy from a poor Jewish family, but somehow they saw beyond the physical appearances to realize the Power and Presence of God. You may not fully understand God’s answer when it comes to you. It is not a matter of “figuring it out”. It may not quite look right. God’s ways are not man’s ways nor are his thoughts man’s thoughts. But when God leads you to the verse or the passage that opens your soul to God it is at that point you will need to decide whether to trust your “eyes” or to trust the Word of God.They Would Not Be Side Tracked by Pride of Life. They were grown men accounted wise and wealthy enough to invest the 2 years of their life in search for the Messiah important enough to warrant an audience with a king, but they were humble enough to bow the knee to worship and recognize the greater glory of this little toddler standing before them. They were before God – and their little self glory melted away. Are you willing to submit your will to the will of God? In your spiritual search for meaning and purpose, do you really suppose God will let you “do it your way”? Are you prepared to do it God’s way? Because that is the only way that is going to work – the only way that will give your soul what it is really looking for. James 4:6 says, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” Amen!They Were Wise In Their Devotion. At the conclusion of their search. When at last they had found the Christ, they bowed down and worshipped him. They presented him with gifts. Listen, it is not enough to discover who Christ is or even what his faith and worship. It is not a matter of what we get out of worship, but what God gets out of worship.A Gift Worthy of His Lordship Gold. Gold has obvious worth. It is a gift fit for royalty. God deserves the very best that we can bring in our hand; but God deserves the very best you can bring in your heart. When Adam and Eve sinned it was an act of rebellion and disloyalty. True worship will include an acknowledgement of God’s sovereign right of control over your life. Revelation 19:16 says, “And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of Kings, and Lords of Lords.” Jesus Christ is called Lord 747 times in the New Testament. Such a great king deserves your loyal obedience and submission. Amen!A Gift Worthy of His Holiness Frankincense. Frankincense is mentioned 17 times in the Bible. It was used as one of four sweet scents compounded together to make the ceremonial incense of the Jews. It was used in both sacrifices and prayer. Its aroma was always present in the Temple grounds. As such, Frankincense is a picture of praise and worship of Christ as the Holy One of God come down in flesh among us. Psalms 95:6 says, “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.” Amen! Isaiah 9:6 says, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Amen!Praise is always appropriate on the lips of God’s people, but more than holy praise on your lips, God desires holy practice in your life. Amen!A Gift Worthy of His Sacrifice – Myrrh Myrrh is an aromatic gum resin obtained from several trees and shrubs found in both northern Africa and throughout the entire East. Myrrh was used in Egypt in the embalming process of mummification. There are 22 references to myrrh in the Bible. Myrrh was used to anoint every part of the tabernacle in the wilderness. It was myrrh that was poured out on the feet of Jesus just a week before his death.How prophetic to have Myrrh as one of the gifts presented to him at his birth. This child was born to die. Matthew 1:21 says, “And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name Jesus: for He shall save his people from their sins”. Luke 2:11 says, “For unto Christmas. Amen!Lastly; 2,000 years ago Jesus was born the God-man. Have you searched for Him and found Him yet? If so, what did you give Him this Christmas that is worthy of His Lordship, Holiness Sacrifice? Now you know why these men are considered wise! Amen!