What did the Wise Men know about the Newborn Jesus?

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This pastoral passage was written for LRBC for December 6 2020.

The coming of the three wise men or ‘magi’ is one of the better-known stories about the birth of Jesus (Matthew 2:1-18). There are a few important things about them.

1. They had travelled from eastern lands. They weren’t locals.

2. They knew about God’s promises to send a unique kind of King (a ‘Messiah’ or ‘Christ’).

3. It doesn’t actually say there were three, but it does say they had three kinds of gifts.

4. They were starwatchers.

5. They saw something unusual in the stars that made them realise that the promised king of the Jews had come – so they came to worship him.

Christians have suspected that the gifts they brought show something about what the wise men knew of God’s promised King. The earlier part of the Bible pointed ahead to Jesus, and the wise men had likely read it.

The gold was a gift of tribute to Jesus who would be the king over all kings (Psalm 89:27).

The frankincense signified his role as a priest who made peace with God for his people (Psalm 110:4).

The myrrh was a product for embalming corpses – perhaps they recognised he was also destined to die in order to do all that God would send him for (Isaiah 53).

What do you understand about Jesus? How far is he worth you travelling for? What kind of gifts do you think he is worth bringing?

The wise men were prompted to travel far and bring costly gifts and worship him because of what they understood about this new-born Jesus.

The question I would leave with you is this: what did they know that you don’t?