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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Barcus & Laura Neal

December 31st, 2023: The Faith of the Wise Men- Matthew 2:1-12

Here it is again, the end of another year. How quickly time passes. Where are all the things that you planned to do, promised to do, and determined would be different this year?  A very sneaky trick - Time.  We think we have plenty.  We believe we will always be able to do later what we are thinking of doing now.  This last lesson of 2023  is simply the story of wise men seeking Jesus.  Is that your story?  Are you still seeking Jesus?  Whether you are just starting or even if you have been a Christian for years and are starting over, he can be found.  Just be aware, He is often much more than what you expect.  If you haven’t been looking for him, now is the time. Open your Bibles.  Dive in with us.  Seek and find the savior of the world. 

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

As we put away our Christmas decorations and pat ourselves on the back for surviving another hectic, shopping, family, gift giving, season, pause for a second. The lesson today reminds us that it isn’t over at the birth;  the manger is just the beginning.  Who the wise men  are, how many of them came, how far they traveled, or how long it took them to arrive is a mystery.  Scripture teaches that,  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever. (Psalm 111:10). These men had knowledge of God, His word, and His teaching.   The prophecies of God remain true.  These wise men traveled to worship the King.  They expected that Herod and Israel would also be looking for this King of the Jews, so they asked, where is He?   Are you looking for the King?   A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: (Proverbs 1:5).

When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

Herod is troubled because he is a puppet King set in place by Rome. Anyone, including family, who he felt was a threat to his throne, he had murdered.  He is a descendant of Esau and not in line at all to be King of anything in Israel. The people are troubled because they don’t want to stir the anger of Rome.  The people of Jerusalem, though troubled, must wonder at what a man who is born King of the Jews may do. Might He free them from Rome? But if that is the case how many will die, will Jerusalem be destroyed? Troubled at the events that could transpire and knowing the reputation of Herod, they call upon the religious leaders for answers. The scriptures are sufficient, complete, and once again, have the answer.

Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

Keeping in character, Herod sends them to Bethlehem, hoping they will bring him word, and if this is true, he will quickly remove this new threat.  There is a feeling to this verse that Herod didn’t believe much in the religious aspect of Israel, or he might have sent his own soldiers and taken care of the matter immediately. 

When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

The star, the beautiful star that leads them to the Child. The light that is described as the glory of the Lord when it shone on the shepherds.  The wise men are glad, and when they see it they rejoice. They are led by the light of God.  Are you tired of stumbling around in the dark, feeling your way though problems and disappointments?  There is an answer for you found in the word of God.  Open your Bible.  How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:103-105).

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

Wise men seeking the Lord will find Him.  He is not hidden except to those who will not look.  These travelers worship and bring Him gifts. Gold torepresent His kingship, Frankincense to honor His deity, and Myrrh to represent His death. What gifts do you have that you can bring Him? It reminds me of a poem we used to teach our children:  

What can I bring him, poor as I am

If I were a Shepherd, I’d bring him a lamb

If I were a wise man, I’d do my part

Yet what can I give him

I’d give him my heart. 

And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

Herod’s plan failed. However, many hearts were broken in Israel because of his anger and evil.  God honored the worship of the wise men and led them home safely. There is nothing greater than returning to your Creator what He desires; your heart, your life, your acknowledgment, your gratitude, and your love.  What better way to start the new year?  Seek the Lord and be wise.

Thank you for studying with us! God bless!



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