“Walking With Jesus”
009 – WISE MEN COME TO SEE JESUS!
How God Draws Us to Christ!
How far would you travel to see a grandchild, nephew or niece? How far would you travel to see some celebrity or public figure or Presidential inauguration? Have you ever had to flee for your life or for the safety of your family? Have you left it all behind to flee and start over in a foreign land? How does God draw us to His Son?
Wise men still seek Jesus!
Scientific research confirms that Herod “the Great” dies around 4 BC. Jesus is already born before Herod dies. The wise men visit the baby Jesus before Herod dies. This places the birth of Jesus around 4-5 BC. (The research on which our modern calendars are based was found to have some errors in it. This year should be four to five years older than what the calendars actually state regarding the birth of our Lord.) Still, we see God’s hand in the life and attraction of His Son. We are in Matthew 2:1-18. Jesus has some visitors from very far away who want to worship Him as the King of the Jews.
God starts by reaching us where we are – Matthew 2:1-2
Magi, which means sorcerer or astrologer, come from the east. We don’t know how many there were or exactly where they were from. Mesopotamia (Babylon or Assyria are 300-500 miles from Judea. If they average 25 miles per day on camel or horse, it will take them from 12-25 days to travel.
How far and how long would you be willing to travel to see a stranger’s baby, or a celebrity’s child? Joseph and Mary are unknown, ordinary people. How many people in Bethlehem and Jerusalem did not know about the birth of the Messiah, yet these astrologers, wise men come from the East to worship Him. God took them from where they were and brought them to where He wanted them. Will you allow Him to do that with your life?
God draws us to Christ through Scripture – Matthew 2:3-6
They are looking for the one who is born as the next “King of the Jews”! They see a star, but there is no indication about where the star is in the sky. We assume it is before them as they travel. (They will see it again on approach to Bethlehem and it will appear over Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus’ residence.) They naturally go to Jerusalem and inquire of Herod under the impression that it might be his child. Herod is “disturbed”. Extremely jealous of anyone who threatens his throne! He inquires of the local Jewish religious leaders about where this king is to be born and informs the wise men with a ruse of wanting to know so he can “worship” the child.
God draws us to Christ through others – Matthew 2:7-9
The wise men consulted Herod, who consulted the local religious leaders. God used a hated ruler and some religious leaders to direct the wise men to the right place to see the Christ child that had recently been born. It is a wise man who knows that he needs others in order to accomplish his task in life.
God draws us to Christ through personal encounter – Matthew 2:10-12
The star reappears. Did it go away, or were the wise men simply not looking for it while they were on their way to Jerusalem? The presence of the star shows that this portion of the journey 6 miles) is being made after dark! Upon arrival in Bethlehem, the wise men find Joseph and Mary without any directions from local residents! They introduce themselves; see the baby and present gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Gold – royalty, king – mental kinship – symbol of Jesus’ power and wealth! Frankincense – divinity, a priest – spiritual kingship – fragrance to God as an act of worship. Myrrh – humanity, prophet – physical kingship – symbol of Jesus’ coming death (for our sins). More strangers, more confirmation to Joseph and Mary about their baby and some wonderful gifts that say a lot about who this child really is! Wise men have a personal encounter with God in a dream and are wise enough to not go back to Herod, but go home another route. Their personal encounter with the Son of God draws them to listen to God’s commands.
God draws His Son to safety – Matthew 2:13-18
Almost immediately after the wise men leave, Joseph is warned in a dream to get out of town NOW! Herod wants to kill the baby King, so they must flee so that He will be safe. There is no mention of whether they have a donkey to help carry their stuff. Joseph obeys God’s instructions without any hesitation!
When we hear from God, obedience should be our greatest concern! How would you feel if you had only minutes to take “everything” that you could carry and travel by foot for a distance of about 155 miles to a foreign land to protect your baby (and maybe you and your wife as well) from a killer?
How long will it be before Herod realizes that the wise men got wise and are not coming back? A couple of days? A week? Or a month? Joseph and Mary are wise in getting down the road far and fast!
Bethlehem is a small village. The number of children is not very many. However, everyone in town is going to hear and be affected by the slaughter of a dozen or so children under the age of 2 years. Even so, if it is your child, or if it is a tyrant who brutally murdered children in your community, how would you feel?
Matthew is pointing out several prophecies that have been fulfilled by Jesus, even in His birth and infancy. This baby is not another “want-to-be”, but actually is the promised Messiah!