The Wise Men

Matthew 2:1-12

Isn’t it strange how little we know about the “wise men” (magi) who went to visit Jesus after His birth? There are many questions we might ask about these men: Where did they come from? How long had they been travelling?

How many were they? Did they travel together?

The Bible says that the wise men came from the East. According to the World book Encyclopedia, the “Magi were the priests of the ancient Medes and Persians. The ancient Greeks and Hebrews knew them as astrologers, interpreters of dreams and givers of omens. According to tradition, the three wise men who visited Jesus were Melchior, Balthasar and Gaspar.”

Note the reference to “three” wise men. The Bible does not number the wise men who visited Jesus. It is strictly a traditional assumption, perhaps because of the three gifts mentioned.

In any case, the actual number of travellers was probably in the hundreds. The men journeyed over thousands of miles, probably for months, over desert land that hid bandits and criminals. They had to travel in large numbers for protection and for the transport of provisions and the gifts.

The wise men were noble and respected men. They were Gentiles who were probably discontent with man-made religions. They were seeking direction for their lives and wanted to worship the true and living God. How were they able to find Him?

First, through perseverance . They were determined to find Him. After a long and difficult journey, they finally arrived in Judea. Would the search come to an end? Would the roads be crowded with people going to worship Jesus?

No, the wise men found that no one knew anything about the wonderful child. The wise men pressed on, without fear.

Second, they found Him through God’s providence . Proverbs 8:17 says, “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.”

Finally, they found Him through the desire for eternal hope . When the wise men saw that the star had led them to where Jesus was, they were “overjoyed”. They worshiped Him and gave Him precious gifts. “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11)

The gifts of the Magi were practical, spiritual and beautiful. The gold likely proved very useful since Joseph, Mary and their child had to flee to Egypt that very night. The incense was a symbol of worship. Myrrh was costly and beautiful.

What should we give Christ? Our gifts, too, should be practical, spiritual and beautiful — but we must first find Him and worship Him.

Have you found Christ yet? It’s still not too late!

Pastor Joseph Hovsepian