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Thursday, September 12, 2013

How Many Wise Men Found Jesus?

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How Many Wise Men Found Jesus? -  Michael J. S. Austin, Ph.D.


Many people have heard the story of the wise men from the East who followed a star and came to where the infant Jesus was with Mary his mother. But I wonder why are they called 'wise men' - was it their wisdom that led them to Jesus; were there only three or twelve as different traditions has it, and what is there in this story for you and me?
1. COSTLY GIFTS
Whether these men had travelled with their costly gifts of devotion from Arabia or Persia, they had come on a long journey. There is little doubt they were influential, wealthy and privileged but despite that, they were on a higher quest. They had a sense of the majesty of the night sky, which in the middle-east would have been a sparkling expanse of jewel-studded glory. And these 'magi', as Matthew's account in the New Testament, calls them, would have been deeply learned in the art of reading the sky and its planetary conjunctions, noting unusually bright stars. Perhaps, in this their life's quest, we also see a deeper one - the quest to find God, for life and meaning - Oh, if only I could find HIM!
And so, they have travelled all the way to the Royal City of David, to Jerusalem, following a particular star, which spoke to them of a new born 'king of the Jews' (Matt. 2:2), whom they have come to worship.
2. GREAT JOY
The ruling monarch, King Herod, has no time for rivals, but he checks with the religious experts, 'where the Christ was to be born' (Matt. 2:4). They point him to a prophecy in their Scriptures that mentions 'Bethlehem, in the land of Judah', as the birth place of the future ruler, who would shepherd God's people (See Matt. 2:6). Excited, at this confirmation, the men set off for Bethlehem as the star moved before them, until it stopped 'over the place where the child was' (Matt. 2:9). Now, almost overwhelmed 'with great joy' (Matt. 2:10), they go into the house and fall down in worshipful adoration of the infant Jesus.
Undeterred, that Jesus and Mary his mother are not surrounded by pomp and splendour, they open their exclusive treasures of the East and offer to Jesus gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.
3. FOCUS OF HISTORY
Their mission accomplished, they were soon on their way home making sure Herod did not find out Jesus' location, to protect him from the king's evil schemes. Is that ALL they had wanted to do - just one brief encounter, on their knees before the One who was the focus of all history? My guess is they were given to recognise the true kingship of him who was king of kings and Lord of Lords, and they treasured those memories of being in his presence, for the rest of their lives.
Well, how many wise men were there? The three-fold variety of their gifts isn't sufficient to confirm there were just three of them. The number in unimportant, but their quest and the destination of that quest, to find the Christ, the anointed of God - the Saviour, is the all important thing.
So, just what is the role of these mysterious men from the East in this passage in Matthew's Gospel? From it we see at least three great truths.
4. A HIGHER GLORY
These men show us that astrology is not enough. To be occupied with the worship - giving supreme wisdom, power and glory to the majesty and meaning of the starry sky is idolatry. The glory of the stars points to the higher glory of their Creator. These men show that they had turned from the idolatrous worship of the heavens and were deeply intent on finding the One who had made the heavens, and had come to give him their hearts adoration!
The second truth revealed here is a little more indirect, and is seen in the contrast between the wise men and the cold, hostile reception give to Jesus from Jewish officialdom - both civil and religious, just as John's Gospel says, 'He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him' (John 1:11). That is a deep challenge for Jewish people, to have people come from the faraway East, who were more intent on the worship of their own Messiah than they were themselves!
And the third truth for us is the striking way these wise men from the East are a sign of how the Lord Jesus as the desire of nations, the Saviour of the world, will draw people from North and South, from East and West to himself.
5. COME - AS THE PROPHET FORETOLD!
They will all come to him, just as the prophet had foretold centuries before, 'For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising... They shall bring gold and frankincense' (Isaiah 60:1-6). Such gifts expressed their heart's worship, but never secured his favour! Will you too see his glory and come to him?
'Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
Dawn on our darkness, and lend us thine aid;
Star of the East, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.'
Reginald Heber, 1783-1826
Now, no longer the infant, Jesus is Christ the risen and ascended Lord, hope of nations, the glory of his people Israel, the Saviour who died on the cross for rebel sinners, such as you and I, and for all who will come to the Father to be reconciled through him.
Join those wise men of long ago and come today!
Michael J. S. Austin, Ph.D. - FIND JESUS CHRIST TODAY! Hello, my big goal is to show that biblical Christianity appeals to careful thinking, and is powerfully relevant today. So, I aim to share the good news of Christ crucified, risen and ascended - a Saviour who is worthy of your full confidence. And I write to help you find faith or to strengthen your faith, so that you may be SURE. Use this link to my very latest Amazon Kindle e-book - (very modestly priced): 'FOR SURE! - Assurance and Evangelicalism' http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AG0WK84 Read and enjoy, and please recommend to others - Thank you! Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Michael_J._S._Austin,_Ph.D. Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7436784


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