December 15, 2010
Who are Those Wise Men Anyway?
"After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?" We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." Matthew 2:1-2 NIV.
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There has been quite a bit on confusion over the years about the "Wee Three Kings of Orientar." Who were they? Wise men? Magi? Kings? How old was Jesus when they arrived? Did they get there on Christmas night? Or was Jesus a toddler by the time they arrived? The rough and rowdy Herdsmen in The Greatest Christmas Pageant Ever, thought a ham was a much more practical gift than gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Matthew 2:1-12 tells the story of the wise men (KJV) or magi (NAS) who came from the east to worship the new King of the Jews. Traditionally they have been referred to as Kings, but nowhere in Scripture is that confirmed. We don't know exactly how many of them there were, but again, traditionally we've celebrated three, because of the three gifts.
Most likely, they did not show up in the stable at the advent of Christ's birth. Matthew 2:11 says that they "came into the house and saw the child," indicating that Mary and Joseph had moved to a home from the stable. We're not sure how old Jesus was when they arrived. Some sources say He was as old as two years.
Apparently, God did not think all these details were important. But He did give specific details about the gifts that the wise men brought for Jesus: gold, frankincense and myrrh. Gold stood for the riches of a king, showing us that Jesus is the King of Kings. Frankincense was incense used by the priests in the temple worship, showing us that Jesus is our High Priest who goes before the Heavenly Father and intercedes for us. And myrrh was a perfume used in burial services, pointing us to Jesus' death on the cross - a holy sacrifice for our sins.
This Christmas, as you think of the wise men, ponder the gifts they brought and the rich meaning behind them. Jesus is your King that guides you, your High Priest who prays for you, and the Messiah who came to give His life so that you might live.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son - the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the one and only sacrifice for my sins. Thank You that He became flesh and dwelt with us, He left His throne to walk among us, and hung on the cross to die for us.
In Jesus' Name,
Now It's Your Turn
Do you know Jesus as your King? If so, what does that mean to you?
Do you know Jesus as your High Priest who prays for you? If so, what that mean to you?
Do you know Jesus as the One who gave His life as a sacrifice for your sins? If so, what does that mean to you?
Now, look at your answers above. You have just written a wonderful description of who Jesus is, why He came, and why the wise men brought their gifts.
Idea: If you have small children, here's a great holiday idea. One way to emphasize the journey of the wise men is to place them a short distance away from the nativity displayed in your home. Each day, move the trio a little closer, until they finally arrive on Christmas Day.
More from the Girlfriends
For more holiday ideas, see Celebrating a Christ Centered Christmas by Sharon Jaynes. It is packed with ways from A-Z with ways to keep Jesus the focus of the holiday season.
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