Who Were the Wise Men?
The human need this passage meets is: To develop attitudes that help us find and know the Christ
Learning Goals: By the end of this session, each learner should be able to. . .
(Know)Know what the Bible says about "who were the wise men". (magi)
(Feel) Feel a sense of adventure and joy at the coming of Christ
(Do) Plan one way to more fully worship Jesus throughout the year
If our only sources of information to "who were the wise men?" were stories, songs, and movies we'd have many misconceptions of the magi. Fortunately, the Bible gives us answers to the question, "Who were the Wise men?".
First, let's examine some common misconceptions:
1. There were three wise men (magi)
2. They were kings
3. Their names were Casper (Gaspar), Melchior, and Balthazar
There was an actual obituary notice prepared: Having undergone many trials and fatigues of the gospel, the three Wise Men met in A.D. 54 to celebrate the feast of Christmas. Thereupon, after the celebration of Mass, they died: Melchior on January 1st, aged 116; Balthasar on January 6th, aged 112; and Gaspar on January 11th, aged 109. (In Raymond E. Brown, The Birth of the Messiah.)
The Bible doesn't tell us their names.
4. They rode camels
5. The star they saw was in the East
6. They found Jesus in the manger. Mary, Joseph and the shepherds were also there - all on Christmas Day.
The Biblical order of events is:
The wise men arrived between six months and two years after Jesus was born. Herod wanted to know when the baby was born, so he inquired exactly when the star appeared. From the information he learned from the wise men, he ordered the killing of all baby boys up to two years old.
We have assumed much regarding the wise men. Let's see what the Bible actually says. From Matthew 2:1-12, let's see who were the wise men and what attitudes they had that we can emulate.
The wise men are somewhat mysterious. There are many things we don't know about them. But, we do know one thing.
In our search for Jesus, let me suggest three key attitudes that the wise men displayed that we need to have if we are to find the Christ as they did.
1. The wise men had an attitude of urgency
These men were Gentiles. They did not have the scriptures, yet they desired the truth. God gave them a star.
Herod, the chief priests, and scribes sensed their eagerness, their mission, and their desire. They came a long way and made great personal sacrifices. They weren't just passing through, or just in the area.
Are we that way with Jesus?
Do we get up in the morning anticipating our time with him?
Do we skip meals to talk to Him?
Is He on our minds?
2. The wise men had an attitude of joy
Matthew 2:9-10 tells that when they saw the star had stopped over the house where the child was, they were overjoyed! They had the thrill of victory. This was it - the end of their search. They had found the one for whom they had been looking for months - possibly even years!
Do you have the fresh joy that comes from knowing Jesus?
3. The wise men had an attitude of worship
Matthew 2:2 - They told Herod that they had come to worship Him. Matthew 2:11 - When they found the child, they bowed down and worshiped Him.
This was the purpose of their journey. This is what made their trip worthwhile.
A part of their worship was the
giving of gifts.
Worship and money go hand in hand. They opened their treasures of gold, frankincense, and myrrh (verse 11).
From the gifts, we see that Jesus is our King, Priest, and Savior.
Mary and Joseph were a bit off-guard. This was quite a baby shower.
Lastly, just like the shepherds, the wise men bowed their knees and surrendered their hearts to the King.
For the wise men the journey was not the objective. The objective was to worship the child.
Where are you headed now?
God has created us to find Him and worship Him.
Let's approach Jesus today with a sense of urgency, joy, and worship.
1. Who were the wise men?
2. What impresses you the most about the magi?
3. What Christmas activities detract you from having this sense of urgency, joy, and worship?
4. What Christmas activities draw you into a closer sense of urgency, joy and worship?
5. What one thing will you do consistently year-round to enhance these three attitudes toward the Lord?
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