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, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Mt 2:1–2). (2016). Crossway Bibles.
We are coming toward the end of this series. I hope you have been blessed as much as I have exploring what God is bringing to us regarding not only the 1st Advent but the one to come. What we learn in the 1st Advent as seeds for the 2nd the latter advent to come being the fruit of what is planted in the 1st advent. Jesus came to save and serve in the 1st and in the second He will come to Judge and to Reign. The contrast between what the Baby Jesus came to be was a Suffering Servant, will now come as Judge and King of all the earth.
What I bring in this message is my own conjecture, as I have no solid data to back up what I say, however there are clues in this narrative that the wise men were not ordinary men in search of a King, there is far more to discover concerning these men. Maybe together our conjecture will bring us some indications in the story which only appears in Matthew’s Gospel.
Understanding who is He BORN King…These were not traditionally 3 wise men, as tradition tells us. There would have been many. Their understanding of the King, born King, means far more concerning who they were.
We are told a very traditional story, 3 wise men, follow a star, leave gifts. We do not hear about them again. We need to strip away the tradition and come to the indications of what this journey, what this event, appearing to see the Baby Jesus means. We know that the Bible does not specify there were 3 of them, because it tells us in general terms. What I have been meditating and researching is the truth, history of these men. It is obvious that they knew how to interpret the signs in the heavens, making them aware that a King was to be born. I have been wondering what made them get to the conclusion that the King would be born in Israel, or more specifically Judea. Surely they must have had some kind of knowledge of prophetic scripture from the prophets of that region. They come to the conclusion that this King was not like those in power at the time of Jesus’ birth. This had a divine mission. Hence with the piecing together of divine information being given to them they decide to take a trek, which would take them first north, through ancient Assyrian territory, through Mesopotamia, to come to Jerusalem from the north. Why would they come to Jerusalem? Why would they not come to another city, like Tyre or Sidon, or Tarshish, or any other city known at that time?
Why did they believe and read in the star that this King to be born king would have a divine quality? They named Him a King at birth. Surely their revelation came from God Himself. We have already in this series examined the gifts they brought with them, showing to us and to Jesus that they knew Him. They knew Him in 3 dimensions: Prophet, Priest and King. This revelation was no ordinary one, nor was it acquired by the normal routes the Magi of that time were known for.
What we need to know here is that in the last days, the days preceding His 2nd Advent, more and more Jesus is going to be recognised in His Kingly state. How will this be seen? It will be seen in God’s people. The Magi were very very finely dressed and rich men, studious in all wisdom and learning. I believe that it is time now to become studious, become learned in all wisdoms, from God’s Word, and all study surrounding it. There is coming a time in God’s Church that we reflect Jesus the King through our lives. That is Jesus in Us being intelligent, authoritative, majestic. Much of society wants to embrace an instantaneous faith, without learning, without authority, without majesty. Much of faith that is taught is taught to believe for a new house, new car, finances, business prosperity. God will have to shake this earthly application of a divine principle, from His Church. He is going to have to repeat Zechariah 3 on His Church’s priesthood, and take off her earthly robes. Even suddenly coming to “His Temple” to purify her Levites, Malachi 3. The Magi did a spiritual journey as much as a physical one.
If that is the case, I sense we all need to go on this journey. If Jesus is coming back as King, surely we should know Him as such.
The Scribes knew where He was to be born but had no knowledge of Him, nor His MissionInteresting that those so learned at the time in Israel had less revelation than those who came from afar!
The timing of the visit of these men, royal in apparel, learned and majestic in figure, with the star should have woken these people up, yet they are ignorant, the scribes have the knowledge of where Jesus would be born, yet had no sense of timing, the signs were around them, groups of prayer, Anna and Simeon in the Temple, yet with all their knowledge God does not allow them the prior knowledge of who was born in Bethlehem. In the less days God wants to give knowledge, but this knowledge comes from intimate interaction with God. Anna was 84 years in the Temple, serving with fastings and prayers, knowing that she would see the fruit of her prayers, her knowledge coming out of this commitment and lifestyle. It is imperative that preaching in the Church comes with new knowledge of times and places. These will be added to our knowledge of who Jesus is.
As the Magi had knowledge of the Messiah, His Mission, His Birth nation, so they must have some inclusion, some exposure to His LineThe Magi display that they have some connection to God and may be even descended from Israel.
There is something striking about their recognition of signs, of who they pointed to. One gets the sensation that in their families there was not some descendency from Israel. Maybe they shared some lineage with Daniel. Daniel was considered a wise man, and served among Magi in the kingdoms of Babylon and Persia. Who knows if these Magi knew and were descended from Abraham, which could explain how they interpreted the times and seasons.
Their worship was God led, they beheld who they worship not only in their journey but in His Presence. God is about to lead us again as we are near His 2nd Advent so our worship in our spiritual journey will culminate in our worship face to face with Him. Is it not a wonderful image to see learned and majestic men bow in front of a young Jesus, knowing Him intimately. We know they returned to their land fully knowing Him, life impacted. We know nothing about them further, but we can surmise their lives were not the same afterwards. And before the 2nd Advent in contrast, we shall behold Him fully. We shall never depart from His Presence.
In a retreat in North Yorkshire, February 2019, I began to understand the process of prayer, where we place Him before us, then we transition to where we see Him beyond us, and finally we are brought to a place where we behold Him. This process John of the Cross speaks of the purgative, illuminative and then unitive levels of prayer. For us to behold Him, we must also desire being in Union with Him. I am sure the Magi entered that place with Jesus.
The whole episode with Magi leads us to surmise something beautiful which culminates in the worship before the young Jesus. This was no ordinary journey, their motivation was not ordinary, nor their lives ordinary. May we also be led these days to behold King Jesus in the little signs of our daily lives. May this culminate not only in our intimate worship but also lead us into Union with Him!