"Now when Jesus was born in
In the second chapter of Matthew we see events which are usually presented in conjunction with the birth of Christ, but which actually took place twelve to eighteen months later. Christmas programs usually picture shepherds visiting the stable, and before they move from the stage three wise men appear on the scene.
The Word of God shows that the shepherds came to a babe in a manger but the wise men visited a young child in a house. Let us remember that these wise men came from the east, which could have referred to
It was very significant to note that the journey of the wise men was a westward trek. In the Old Testament record we see that every time the tabernacle was set up in the wilderness the open door always faced the east. This made it necessary for the priests to turn their backs to the east and move westward as they entered the tabernacle. East is the favored direction in all pagan worship, so man, if he is to worship the true and living God, symbolically turns from the east and moves in a westerly direction. It was no accident that these wise men came from the east.
How many wise men were there? Although most artists and Christmas story writers have settled upon three as the number, there is no Scripture to substantiate the claim. They brought three gifts, but the number of wise men could have been two or 102. The important thing is to see the purpose of their visit and the meaning of the gifts they brought with them.
They came to worship, but what power moved them over those many miles to see the Saviour? When we accept the simple truth we will say that they saw a star and then followed it until they found the young child. We have no record that anyone else saw the star and it is an injustice to Scripture to assume that they did. The man who denies the sovereignty of God will have a lot of difficulty with this point for there is no other way to explain this event but to realize that God chose these men and revealed unto them the message of Christ's birth. They responded as the elect of God always do. Whether it be an Abram living in a pagan land or a Saul on the road to
The gifts brought by the wise men picture the three aspects of worshipping Christ. The order in which they are mentioned is also of much importance as they give forth the message of Christ to a lost and dying world.
The pattern for worship becomes complete when we see Christ as DEITY, as PERFECT HUMANITY, and as the one who SUFFERED FOR OUR SIN. The gold, frankincense, and myrrh reflected the true wisdom of men who traveled for several months in order to see their Saviour. At this season of the year, when the world speaks of these wise men, let us proclaim the real message of their visit with a renewed zeal so that others might see the child as the Saviour who bled at