Men on a Mission

A few weeks ago, I was reading these verses in Matthew and I was struck by the sheer enormity of what these men did: 

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him” Matthew 2: 1-2 NKJV

christmas-934181_640 photo by Geralt. Courtesy of Pixabay.

Here were wise men, Magi they were called in the Greek, from the Persian word Magoi, meaning men who studied the stars, and they were from the East. The Bible does not tell us anything else about them. Tradition says they many have been from Iran, Iraq, Yemen, or India, but we do not know. 

This is what we do know: they studied the stars and saw something extraordinary in the heavens. It may have been a conjunction of planets or a comet. Whatever it was, they studied it and determined that a King was born to the Jews, and His birth announcement was in the night sky. This event was so immense that they decided they had to come find this King and worship Him. They were men on a mission.

We don’t know how far they came, but they were probably not from Israel. Once they made the decision to find this King, they were going to have to plan a trip, spend a lot of money and travel a long ways to find what they were looking for. They could have come from as far away as five hundred or a thousand miles. If they came by camel and rode every day, they may have made the trip in a few weeks or a month, but the trip could have taken a lot longer. This was not going to be a comfortable undertaking.

There are a few things that really strike me about what these men did. First, they recognized the fact that the universe was making an announcement. They saw the star and from their studies, whether it was from star charts or the Hebrew Scriptures, they figured out that a King was born in Israel. They knew this birth had immense significance. Second, they were willing to make an effort to go find this King and worship Him. These men were probably court advisors in whatever kingdom they lived in. They were men of status and probably lived in great comfort. In spite of this, they wanted to travel to Israel to worship this newborn King. 

During this Christmas season, I will think about the wise men and the lessons I can learn from them. First, I need to study and know what is going on around the world prophetically. If there are actual signs in the heavens of His Second Coming, I need to be aware of them and find out what they mean. Second, I need to be willing to get out of my comfort zone and go where I need to in order to serve and worship the King. 

Men on a mission, an example to us all.

19 thoughts on “Men on a Mission

  1. when I read books about History, and in them the accounts of how long it took for a correspondence to arrive, I thought about the meaning of life in those times. the Bible reveals to us just how much humanity, two thousand years ago, was or could be far advanced, so that it could be determined that Christ would be born. and went to the meeting believing in their instruments of study. when I think about it, and I think of special in all our technology today, I am sad because we do not have enough wisdom for peace. if in those times there were conflicts, the quest for peace was richer and more alive. the story is moving and brings hope.

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      • Certain aspects of the ecclesiastical calendar puzzle me. How is it that the Feast of the Holy Innocents (December 28) precedes the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6)? Anyway, as my father mentioned, magi do not belong in manger scenes with shepherds. No, we should not conflate the stories from Matthew and Luke. “We Three Kings” is not a song I count as a Christmas carol for this reason.

        Father Raymond E. Brown, writing in his “Introduction to the New Testament” and “The Birth of the Messiah” (both books in my library) argued against reading the nativity stories in Luke and Matthew literally. He was correct in pointing to historical inaccuracies in the Lukan account; not all those people held office at the same time, and there was no such census, certainly not circa 6 B.C.E. However, Brown considered the Lukan account more historically reliable than the Matthean one. The theological importance of the Lukan account was that it set up a theme for that Gospel; the angels sang for Jesus, not Augustus. God versus the Roman Empire. The Matthean account, with Herod ordering the deaths of young children, is certainly feasible, given what we know about the man. And the magi, arriving probably about when Jesus was two years old, is not the wildest story I have read.

        The magi recognized something important in the sky. Perhaps they saw the conjunction of two planets in Pisces. Regardless of what they saw, the acted on it–for years.

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      • Thank you for your reply, I appreciate your thoughts on the matter. Hopefully, we will all be able to recognize what we are seeing and act accordingly to follow the insight God gives us in any given situation.

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  2. Well-written article dear Valerie!, lots to ponder – the star of wonder that brought the wise men to Bethlehem with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to worship the King of kings!


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