The Wise Wise Men

Friday, December 20, 2013

“…There came wise men from the east… 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” (Matthew 2:1,11 KJV).

When we see the Nativity Scene, we observe three wise men assembled around Baby Jesus’ manger. Actually, the Bible never indicates how many wise men there were, and the Bible never says they visited Christ as a baby.

According to the Bible, an indeterminate number of wise men from the east (Gentiles) saw the star of Christ in the east, so they travel to Jerusalem, inquiring where to find Christ, the King of Jews (verses 1,2). King Herod and Jerusalem are troubled, and Herod summons Israel’s religious leaders to tell him where the Messiah will be born. They tell him, according to Micah 5:2, “Bethlehem of Judaea” (verses 3-6). Herod then sends the wise men to seek Jesus, hoping to find and destroy Him (lest He become king and end Herod’s reign).

The star leads the wise men to Nazareth, where Joseph and Mary live in a “house”notice this is not the manger scene. Also, note that Jesus is not a baby here, but a “young child” (verses 9,11). In fact, he is as much as two years old (verse 16). By the way, according to Numbers 24:17, that star—an angel (cf. Job 38:7)—that the wise men saw signified the Messiah-King of Israel… they were wise in that they recognized and followed it!

Interestingly, the wise men worship Jesus, not Mary and/or the angel, and they bring Him gifts of “gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (today’s Scripture)—frankincense and myrrh are aromatic gum resins burned as incense. Gold is for a King, frankincense is for a Priest, and myrrh is for a Prophet—Jesus is all three (Isaiah 9:6,7; Zechariah 6:13; Deuteronomy 18:15,18). Amazingly, Isaiah 60:6, written some 700 years beforehand, even prophesied Gentiles would bring God gifts of gold and frankincense. The Bible is an amazing Book!

Sadly, these Gentiles had more respect for Israel’s King than Israel. These wise men recognized fulfilled prophecy… they were wise men indeed!

The Son of Man Hath Not Where to Lay His Head?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

“And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Luke 9:58 KJV).

What did the Lord mean in today’s Scripture?

Joseph, Mary, and Jesus were poor (Luke 2:24 cf. Leviticus 12:8), but their poverty is not the issue in today’s Scripture. The context suggests that our Lord is actually exposing Israel’s unbelief.

Today’s Scripture is Jesus’ response to a previous statement, so read that preceding verse: “And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest” (verse 57). According to Matthew 8:19,20, the companion passage, this man is a scribe, a religious leader in Israel.

This scribe makes a promise to Christ, to follow Him wherever He will go. Yet, notice Christ’s reply: “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” The foxes and birds have places of residence, but not Jesus Christ. Where can He go? His nation—His own “flesh and blood”—unapologetically rejects Him. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11).

Over 30 years prior to the events of today’s Scripture, a baby (Jesus) was born to a virgin in Israel. He was Israel’s Messiah-King, but sinful Israel did not want Him. Instead, she let wicked King Herod murder His (toddler) contemporaries, forcing Joseph and Mary to take the young child Jesus and flee to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-18). When they later returned to Israel, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph dwelt in Nazareth, the “despised place” (verses 19-23). “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46).

With His nation callously rejecting Him, the only place Jesus Christ could go was Calvary’s cruel cross, to be sacrificed for their sins! Even after His resurrection, they refused to have Him. He ascended to heaven as a royal exile, but He shall return, and then He shall have a place to lay His head!

The Wise Wise Men

Thursday, December 20, 2012

“…There came wise men from the east… 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” (Matthew 2:1,11 KJV).

When we see the Nativity Scene, we observe three wise men assembled around Baby Jesus’ manger. Actually, the Bible never indicates how many wise men there were, and the Bible never says they visited Christ as a baby.

According to the Bible, an indeterminate number of wise men from the east (Gentiles) saw the star of Christ in the east, so they travel to Jerusalem, inquiring where to find Christ, the King of Jews (verses 1,2). King Herod and Jerusalem are troubled, and Herod summons Israel’s religious leaders to tell him where the Messiah will be born. They tell him, according to Micah 5:2, “Bethlehem of Judaea” (verses 3-6). Herod then sends the wise men to seek Jesus, hoping to find and destroy Him (lest He become king and end Herod’s reign).

The star leads the wise men to Nazareth, where Joseph and Mary live in a “house”notice this is not the manger scene. Also, take note that Jesus is not a baby here, but a “young child” (verses 9,11). In fact, he is as much as two years old (verse 16). By the way, according to Numbers 24:17, that star that the wise men saw signified the Messiah-King of Israel… they were wise in that they recognized and followed it!

Interestingly, the wise men worship Jesus and bring Him gifts of “gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (today’s Scripture). Gold is for a King, frankincense is for a Priest, and myrrh is for a Prophet—Jesus is all three (Isaiah 9:6,7; Hebrews 5:6; Deuteronomy 18:15,18). Amazingly, Isaiah 60:6, written some 700 years beforehand, even prophesied Gentiles would bring God gifts of gold and frankincense. The Bible is an amazing Book!

Sadly, these Gentiles had more respect for Israel’s King than Israel. These wise men recognized fulfilled prophecy… they were wise men indeed!

The Childhood of Jesus Christ

Friday, August 24, 2012

“And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40 KJV).

What was Jesus’ childhood like?

In the verses previous to today’s Scripture, Jesus is described as a 41-day-old infant (verses 21-39). The verses after today’s Scripture mention Jesus at age 12 (verses 41-50). Scripture does not mention Him again until He is about age 30, when He begins His ministry (Luke 3:21-23). The Bible speaks much of Jesus’ birth and ministry during ages 30-33, but it is nearly silent about the three interspersing decades. Many speculate what He did during those years (most of these hypotheses are preposterous). Today’s Scripture and its context provide a small, yet definitive, glimpse of Jesus as a boy.

Perhaps the hardest Bible doctrine to comprehend is what theology calls “the hypostatic union,” that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man. While we cannot fully understand this dual nature of Christ, we believe it without question because the Bible teaches it. For instance, Jesus forgave sins because He was God (Mark 9:2-6; cf. Philippians 2:6 KJV), yet He slept because He was also a man (Matthew 8:24,25; cf. 1 Timothy 2:5).

Today’s Scripture shows us that Jesus, as a man, matured like we do: He grew physically, and He increased in knowledge. He learned as we do, and He especially studied the Old Testament daily (this is how His Father, God, taught Him, “morning by morning;” Isaiah 50:4-6). Consequently, later on, after today’s Scripture, Jesus, at age 12, knows more about God’s Word than Israel’s elderly religious leaders, who are amazed at His wisdom (Luke 2:41-50)!!

Jesus’ humanity is demonstrated again, between ages 12 and 30: “[Jesus] was subject unto them [Joseph and His mother Mary]…. and Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:51a,52). In short, Jesus Christ’s childhood was undoubtedly the greatest childhood ever lived!! He was always obedient, and He studied God’s Word. Saints, it is this very life that God offers to live in us today if we simply trust Him to do it! 🙂