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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lessons from the Wise Men

1) God can give us guidance, if we seek it. He guided the wise men through a celestial object of some sort, through a dream, and through the advice of Old Testament scholars.

2) God can work through people we don't expect Him to use -- the wise men don't seem to have been Jews.

3) Christ is worth sacrificing possessions for.

4) Christ is worth going out of our way for.

5) Christ is worth worshiping.

6) We have to be careful of adding to what the Bible says: There is no Biblical evidence that there were three wise men, their names are not given, and, even though Matthew says that they came from the East, tradition says that one was from Africa, one from Asia, and one from Europe. Probably not. The Bible doesn't give a number, or names. (See Wikipedia article on the wise men.)

7) There is no Biblical evidence that the Magi and the shepherds saw each other, and it seems likely that they didn't.

8) Although prophecy is difficult to understand, even in hindsight, it does get fulfilled. See Micah 5, where the prophecy quoted to the wise men, about the location of the birth of the Messiah, comes from. The chapter included prophecy against the Assyrians, and about the restoration of Israel. (For more on the difficulty of understanding prophecy, see point 3 of this post. In spite of that difficulty, the scholars Herod consulted were able to find the meaning in the prophecy in Micah -- Christ would be born in Bethlehem.)

9) Christ's birth in Bethlehem, to an earthly father who was descended from David, is also a fulfillment of prophecy (2 Samuel 7:12, for one place). Fulfillment of prophecy is one of the evidences for the authenticity of the Bible.

10) Not everyone who says they are following Christ really is. Herod, of course, didn't want to worship Him at all. See Matthew 2:16-18.

Thanks for reading, and a blessed Christmas to you.


anne said...

I love to think about the idea that God's plan was set in motion with incredible specificity eons before Christ was born; and God may have even set in motion the movement of a distant star, hundreds of light years away, to mark the date and light the way for the Magi, who would give gifts and testimony to the Light of the World. Awesome God!

Martin LaBar said...

Awesome, indeed!

Thanks, Anne.

atlibertytosay said...

The wise men visited Christ as a youth, not as a babe. This isn't a technicality or interpretation.

Matthew 2:11

"And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him ... "


Notice the word "house" and not "stable" and the words "young child" and not "babe"?

Also notice - no animals, no Joseph, no shepherds.

Luke 2:6-7

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

The wise men are mostly part of pop culture manger scenes - but you are correct - they did fulfill AND FOLLOW prophecy.

thedonnasmith said...

It's sad to know that our children are learning, from school and other sources, "Bible Stories" that are not even in the Bible. I believe it's so important to sit down with your own children and read the Bible with them and learn together. I enjoyed reading your article.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, atlibertytosay and thedonnasmith. You are both correct -- there's a lot of extra-biblical stuff, or misconceptions, associated with the wise men, which was one of the points I was trying to make.

i am Grateful... Kerry i am. said...

Good thoughts. Thanks for sharing Martin.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, Kerry!