An astronomical miracle played the supporting role in the birth of Jesus Christ. In this world changing event the universe bowed as God’s son opened His earthly eyes. Time was split in two at the unveiling of this newborn King, the Prince of Peace.
Prophesied nearly 700 years before, in Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”. Respectively, it’s time to shed some light on the manger and the gravity of the birth of Jesus.
Joseph and Mary had to travel to Joseph’s ancestral home of Bethlehem, for the census. Upon arrival, they found it already full of other family members who had arrived earlier. Mary was close to delivering her baby and was exhausted from their journey.
Due to the Census, they were having trouble finding accommodations. They inquired at an inn, but, there were no vacancies for this young couple that was traveling by donkey. While the exact reason space was not made for a pregnant woman is unknown, it probably indicates the house was full of elder members of Joseph's family, who had priority.
The plot thickens. John wrote in the third chapter and 16th verse, “For God loved the world in this way: so much, that He would give up his unique son, the only one, so that everyone who trusts in him shall not be lost, but by believing in Him, shall have eternal life.” The Savior of the world. Savior. The Hebrew form of the word, is Joshua; the full meaning is, “Jehovah's salvation”.
This birth was also witnessed by ‘the Magi’ who came to worship Jesus. The first word translated “wise men” is the Greek word ‘magos’. This is the same as ‘magus’, an old Persian word equivalent to the ‘chakam’ of the Old Testament. Magi is the plural of magus.
The first and only mention of magi in the New Testament is in the story of the virgin birth. In Matthew 2, it is recorded that they came from the East to Jerusalem looking for “He that is born King of the Jews.” These were magi, a priestly caste of learned men. The only known Magian priests East of Palestine, at the time of Christ's birth, were in ancient Media, Persia, Assyria, and Babylonia. There is no specific proof of what country these men came from, but we know that the magi were wise men from the East, most likely Persia, or modern-day Iran. This would mean that the wise men traveled 800 to 900 miles to see the Christ child.
Although the word magic is derived from the same root as magi, and magi are generally associated with occult studies, even in our modern world. However, these magi seem to be different. There is no indication that they practiced sorcery or claimed magical powers. Their recorded conduct is sincere and worshipful. They appear to have researched the Old Testament and believed its prophecies about the Messiah. They apparently gained nothing material from their long journey.
The record does not specifically say that there were three, or that they were kings; this is assumed by some from the number and types of gifts that were given to Jesus (gold, frankincense, and myrrh). The gifts reflected the aspects of Christ's nature: gold to a king, myrrh to one who will die, and incense, as homage to a God. None of the Church Fathers suggested that these men were kings, but there was obvious wealth involved. It is possible that the wealth was theirs, or that they were religious or scholarly envoys of royalty in a distant land.
It is a common misconception that the wise men visited Jesus at the stable on the night of His birth. In fact, the wise men came days, months, or possibly even two years later. That is why Matthew 2:11 says the wise men visited and worshiped Jesus in a house, not at the stable. Their arrival would have certainly been sometime after his presentation in the Temple (Luke 2:22-39). Immediately after the visit of the magi, Mary and Joseph fled, with Jesus, to Egypt, where they probably stayed till after Herod's death in 4 B.C.
There is no mention of camels or any mode of transportation in the biblical record. There is also no mention of their names. The traditional names adopted in the West are Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthazar . The Syrian tradition uses the names Gushnasaph, Hormisdas and Larvandad.
Most likely, the magi knew of the writings of the prophet Daniel, who in time past had been the chief of the court seers in Persia. Daniel 9:24-27 includes a prophecy which gives a timeline for the birth of the Messiah. Also, the magi may have been aware of the prophecy of Balaam, who was from the town of Pethor on the Euphrates River near Persia, in Numbers 24:17. Balaam's prophecy specifically mentions a “star coming out of Jacob.”
The wise men were guided to look for the King of the Jews by a miraculous stellar event, the Star of Bethlehem, which they called His star (Matthew 2:2). They consulted with King Herod in Jerusalem concerning the birth of Christ and were so directed to Bethlehem (Matthew 2:4-8). They followed God's guidance joyfully (Matthew 2:10). Their gifts for Jesus were costly, and they worshiped Him. God warned them in a dream against returning to Herod, so, in defiance of the king, they left Judea by another route (Matthew 2:12).
By choosing to follow God’s leading and learning to trust by having faith in His gift to mankind, we too, can learn from history and begin to employ these 5 things in our lives:
The magi were men who...1) read and believed God's Word...2) sought Jesus...3) recognized the worth of Christ...4) humbled themselves to worship Jesus...and 5) obeyed God, rather than man. These are qualities that will indeed change our lives and make us...truly wise men
Wise men still seek Him!
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