The story of Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the Wise Men is one of the most well known stories in the Bible.
I want you first to read the scripture below and then I will make some comments.
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.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you shall come a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.’ Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared.
And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was.
When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way. Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.” When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under,
according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:
“A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”
And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth,
that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets
“He shall be called a Nazarene.”
It seems to be a point beyond question that after Mary and Joseph had gone to Bethlehem from Nazareth that they remained to live in Bethlehem.
During most Christmas plays they have the Shepherds arriving along with the Wise men and so most people think they all arrived at the birth of Jesus.
At the time of the arrival of the Wise men Jesus must have been between two and two years old. Why? Because Herod had all the male children in Bethlehem killed under the age of two. Had Jesus been younger then surly Herod would have had only the children killed that were babies.
The wise men were from the East. It well could be present day Iraq or Iran.
The word translated wise men is:
magos ^3097^, (a) “one of a Median caste, a magician”: see WISE; (b) “a wizard, sorcerer, a pretender to magic powers, a professor of the arts of witchcraft,”
(from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)
These men had traveled about a thousand miles on their journey through troubled lands and across deserts to find the Savior. We have no idea how many Wise men there were. They brought three different ‘types’ of gifts. There could have been any number of men in that group.
They came because of the ‘star’ put there by God and revealed to them.
“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.”
It is so strange that these men had discovered and been open to the revelation of God when the wise religious men in the Temple and in Israel had missed the revelation!
Knowledge is no substitute for revelation!
This statement could be original. Ha.
I did a Google search and the phrase is not on the Internet.
The religious had knowledge about the Scriptures but were not open for revelation from God. Remember last week we saw Simeon and Anna open to the Holy Spirit. We have Elizabeth and Mary being filled with the Holy Spirit and revelation.
It’s as if the religious leaders studied the scriptures and discussed the Messiah there was a move of the Spirit taking place without their knowledge.
This could be a message for us today.
And when they had come into the house they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him gold, Frankincense,
Again the scripture focuses on Mary and says here nothing of Joseph. Mary was there with Jesus and ready for whatever God sent her way.
The Wise men gave their gifts to Jesus but of course Mary was to be the custodian of these gifts. With the support of Joseph this was to be their supplies for the journey to Egypt and for their stay there for several years and their return to Israel.
Gold: A gift for a King. Gold is small but of great value. It is easy to carry and to hide. This was money for the trip.
Frankincense: Was used in worship and put upon the altar and the smoke of the incense would rise toward heaven as our prayers.
It was also used as medicine and as perfume.
Frankincense is a sweet fragrance.
The frankincense was for the Healer! Jesus! Jesus heals the broken hearted and calls for the hurting and lost and sinful to come to Him for rest, forgiveness and salvation. It was the message that Jesus cares for the hurting. When all is lost, when you are alone, when you are weeping in pain. Just know the Frankincense of God is Jesus and He will heal and bind up your broken heart and bring you to the Father with the tender care of the Holy Spirit. What a beautiful aroma, Jesus hearing your prayers in heaven. Glory!
Myrrh: Is bitter and associated with pain.
Myrrh is an aromatic gum produced from a thorn-bush that grows in Arabia and Ethiopia
It was used chiefly in embalming the dead, because it had the property of preserving them from putrefaction.
And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.
So they brought Gold for the King, Frankincense for the sweet intercession of Jesus for us and Myrrh for the pain and suffering for Jesus for our sins and for his burial.
But one more point I want to speak of is this.
As Jesus has been beaten and carried the cross to Calvary note this:
Then they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink,
but He did not take it. And when they crucified Him,
they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take.
Jesus did not drink the wine mingled with myrrh. Why?
Because He had already drunk it! In the Garden of Gethsemane!
And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw,
and He knelt down and prayed, saying,
“Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me;
nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”
Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.
And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Jesus had already submitted to the will of the Father and drank from the bitter cup of His suffering.
Oh my eyes fill with tears as I ponder these gifts that foretold the life of Jesus to come.
Following these glorious time of the Wise men with Mary and Jesus comes the horror of death and baby killing to come.
The Wise men leave and so do Mary, Joseph and the Child Jesus.
Blood, the sword, killing and death sweep Bethlehem and the plan of Satan is disrupted again.
Jesus is alive and well and now with Mary and Joseph on a long journey to Egypt where we go with them in our next column.
Mary was again strong and yet tender, wise and welcoming. Are you?
With Mary the focus was always on her Son’¦Jesus!
This must be our focus too.
Pilgrim followers of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessitt