I love Christmas!! It’s one of my favorite holidays—regardless of the hustle and bustle, it’s still my favorite! I love it because we as believers get the chance to come together and celebrate our Saviors birth. Not only that, but we get the chance to recount events such as: the virgin birth through Mary, her and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, the birth of our Lord in the manger, the wise men, the angles singing, and the shepherds arriving. Who doesn’t love to hear such things! Its a wonderful event telling the true story of how our Savior was birthed! But, while these things are familiar to us, there is something about the Christmas Holiday that is often misrepresented? Its the mysterious Magi from the East.
You see the familiar tail is that there were three wise men who came to the manger bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, myrrh; and presented them to little baby Jesus. While this is an interesting story, that we have heard repeated times, its not 100% accurate. So today, in the spirit of Christmas, I’m going to tell you the truth about these mystifying magi….
Matthew 2:1, “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…”
For starters, the Scripture above says nothing about there being three wise men. In fact, you can’t find any Scripture in the Bible that says that there are three wise men. If truth be told, we don’t really know how many there were. Some theologians speculate it could have been as many as 10-12 men. So why is it then that every picture, post card, and movie we see show three wise men? Good question! You see, even though it could have been more, culturally, we like to assume that there were only three because that’s how many gifts were given; the gold, the frankincense, and the myrrh. Yeap! That’s the only reason we claim that there were three, even though it could have been more! Crazy fact isn’t it?
Another misconception about the wise men is that when they traveled, they traveled alone. This is just not the case. Usually when any royalty traveled, they traveled with a caravan of people. They would take cooks, escorts, servants, and maybe even cavalry to ensure a safe passage through the Roman territory. They didn’t go alone. And this is also seen in Scripture. Check it out…
Matthew 2:3, “When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”
There entrance was a very public affair that alarmed not only Herod but all of Jerusalem. If it had only been a few people, then they wouldn’t have been alarmed, but the whole town was in an up-roar because of these men’s arrival.
Another mistaken belief is that the wise men visited Jesus shortly after his birth in the manger. Wrong again! The truth is, they never stepped foot inside the manger. In fact many theologians claim that Jesus was around two years of age when they had arrived in the house of Mary and Joseph. This is also verified in Scripture….
Matthew 2:11, “And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother…”
Matthew 2:16 ,“Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.”
Herod didn’t just pick some magic number of 2 years old, he picked the number according to what he had determined from the wise men and factored in travel time. So chances are Jesus was more likely around 2 years of age.
So lets recap before we move on…. Myth there were three wise men, Truth we don’t really know how many there were, possible 10-12. Myth the wise men came alone, Truth the wise men came with a caravan of people. Myth the wise men visited Jesus at his birth in the manger, Truth the wise men visited Jesus at Mary and Josephs house when he was around 2 years of age.
Now, while it is fun to debunk the common myths we hear about the wise men, the important thing is not how many there were, nor if they had a caravan, nor exactly how old Jesus was when they met Him…. But that they are recorded as seeking out the Savior and finding Him! The Bible didn’t want to bog us down with unnecessary details. It gave us only what was essential to conveying the truth about Christ.
So today, lets ask ourselves a question, if Jesus were alive today, would you travel thousands of miles to see Him? I would in a heart beat!! I’d move there, talk to Him, and spend time w/Him every day I got the chance! I’d go just to be in his presents. Wouldn’t you? But here’s the sad thing, we are willing to travel thousands of miles to see the physical Jesus, yet we ignore the one who (is the same as Him) who is right here in our midst, the Holy Spirit. If spending time with God through reading, prayer, and intimate time are truly important to us, then we are going to find time to do it and be disciplined to keep it.
You see, I believe we each determine the level of relationship we want with the Savior. What I mean is if we choose to spend a little time with God, that’s our choice. If we choose to make our lives so busy that we have no time for God, that’s our choice. And if we choose to spend lots of time with God, again that’s our choice. We are the type of people who pursue what we value most. So what is it that you value most? What takes priority in your life? Is it your job, your finances, your hobbies, your family, Internet, entertainment ,TV, or is God?
Jeremiah 29:13, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all of your Heart.”
Do you want to know a secret? The secret to having passion and falling in love with the Lord, is just spending time with Him. It’s that simple! So lets, like the Magi, seek the Savior and find Him!!
Love you all!