“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 2:2 NKJV
I have often wondered, who were these wise men and how did they know the prophecies were fulfilled? Did these men have a relationship with God? How did they know to follow a star, when starts do not actually move? How did they know to believe the dream not to return to Herod? How were these men so in tune with God?
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen
Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen
Today’s reading is the Book of Matthew chapter 2 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).
Wise Men from the East
2 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, [a]wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 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.”
3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:
6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ”
7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the [b]wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”
9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.
The Flight into Egypt
13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”
14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, 15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
Massacre of the Innocents
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. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:
18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted,
Because they are no more.”
The Home in Nazareth
19 Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” 21 Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.
22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. 23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:
Numbers 23:19– “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”
As we have discussed in the past, Matthew wrote his version of the gospel to the Jews explaining how Jesus fulfilled multiple prophecies. Interestingly enough – Herod sought out old Jewish prophecy, and believed it, so that he killed all the children under the age of two. Herod was an educated man and ruler – and there was enough evidence to convince him. Matthew’s goal was to convince the Jews that Jesus was who He said He was, and is.
You and I are not as familiar with Jewish stories and prophecy as Matthew and the Jews he is writing to. So we will have to accept some of this by faith, like these wise men. The Bible calls them the Greek word for wise, so we call them wise men, but the word also mean magician. The Bible never says there were three… we can infer there were at least 2 because of the plural use of words, but the number of them are unknown to recorded biblical history. It is believed that we laid claim to it being 3 because there were 3 gifts and we assume one gift came from each person. But all the gifts could have come from one person. Anyway, their names and where they were from we assumptions and embellishments added to the story without any recorded history to verify or corroborate. It is assumed they were astrologers, and therefore saw and followed the new star. But all the Bible says is that they were foreigners and they came to worship Jesus.
These men did not arrive on Three Kings Day, or the Twelfth Day of Christmas. They also did not come to a stable. Based on the dates of when Herod was killing babies – We can determine that Jesus was probable 18 to 24 months old when the wise men arrived. (And they were not kings – there is not reference in the bible to them being kings. Possibly priests of foreign religions but not kings.)
I bought my son a nativity set to play with as a child. Everything was plastic. Did I want a nice sculpted set? Maybe – but it was so nice to use them as a teaching lesion. Each of the four Sundays of advent we would read the nativity story from many of his children’s books on it. We would talk about how far away from Bethlehem Mary and Joseph were and e would place them all over the house so maybe the shepherds were in a field on the dining room table while Mary and Joseph were traveling under the Christmas tree. And they all converged on Christmas… except for those men. We placed them in the western part of the house so they could see the star in the east… but no small child was going to hold his attention to this story if it took these wise men 18 to 14 months to walk across the house. So, I found adopting the 12 days of Christmas and Three Kings Day – Epiphany – as a date to finish the nativity scene and clean up from Christmas.
So men who are wise and hear from our God – when it was not the Jews who came and not you and me who understand – kind of humbles us. Maybe we should seek wisdom and knowledge of the Old prophecies That Matthew refers to?
Matthew 2:5-6 (“5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:”) refers to an old Prophecy and cross references: 1 Chronicles 5:2, Ezra 2:21, Micah 5:2, and more. And the book of John also references this prophecy in John 7:42 and John 21:16. And these are later referenced in Hebrews 7:14 and Revelation 7:17.
Matthew 2:11, “And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”
Did anyone ever tell you that this too, fulfills prophecy? Let’s looks at:
Song of Solomon 3:6, “Who is this coming up from the wilderness like a column of smoke, scented with myrrh and frankincense from all the spices of the merchant?”
Isaiah 60:6, “Caravans of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah, and all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and frankincense and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.”
Matthew 2:15, “…that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
Where was this spoken? Well here are three places:
Exodus 4:22, “Then tell Pharaoh that this is what the LORD says: ‘Israel is My firstborn son”
Numbers 24:8, “God brought him out of Egypt with strength like a wild ox, to devour hostile nations and crush their bones, to pierce them with arrows.”
Hosea 11:1, “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.”
Matthew 2:17, “Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying..”
Jeremiah 31:15, “Thus says the LORD: “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more.”
And the last verse of Matthew chapter 2 – Verse 23, “…that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
For those of you who read the Bible through with me last year and those who have also read the Bible through… anyone know where is says that He will be a Nazarene? All four gospels and the book of Acts refer to this prophecy, yet I have never once read it in the books of prophecy, and I know you haven’t either. Go ahead – search cross references and you will see only New Testament references. So now, where did this come from?
Some believe, (and it is the most easily explainable explanation – so I tend to give it more credence than the rest), that the name of the city of Nazareth is derived from one of the Hebrew words for ‘branch’, (ne·ṣer) and alludes to the prophetic, messianic words in Isaiah 11:1, ‘from (Jesse’s) roots a Branch (netzer) will bear fruit’. And somehow, we get to Jesus being from Nazareth out of this.
There must be more to this, so I took the opportunity today to do some research on it in the interest and the other theories are more far reaching in making a connection between the New Testament prophecy and anything recorded in the Old Testament. The Jewish people had other books they studied from, besides (in addition) the once in my Old Testament, and maybe there is a reference in one of them?
It is however a stark reminder that we only know in part and prophesy in part (1 Cor. 13:9) – and keeps us humble as we seek wisdom and knowledge. Because no matter how much we study – our mind will only get in our way and we need to walk in the Spirit and in Truth. Taking captive every thought, and guarding our hearts, while renewing our minds in the work of God. So It is good to study and to know. It only helps us have a closer relationship (or walk) with God.
Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!