The Wise Men's Gift of Sacrifice
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men[a] from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose[b] and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
There are many things we do not know about these Wise Men, but scripture gives us some important details. The first thing we realize is that these men, who were likely not Jewish, knew the Jewish scripture. When they saw the star, they knew it was a sign that the promised King of the Jews had been born. We are also given an indication that the Wise Men came from somewhere east of Jerusalem. They had likely never made this trip before, so they may have been going into unknown territory searching for a promise, a child, they were not even sure they would find. The Wise Men must have traveled far, because scripture refers to Jesus as a child, not a baby when the Wise Men entered the house. Many assume that there were three Wise Men because of the three gifts that they brought; gold, frankincense and myrrh. However, there could have been more men and additional gifts.
When thinking about the journey that these men took to find Jesus, without the luxuries we have when we travel, we can imagine several sacrifices they must have made. Time is a commodity that we hold dear, and often use as an excuse to not volunteer, or offer our services and talents to a cause. It would have taken the Wise Men many months to find the promised Saviour. They sacrificed the convenience of staying comfortably at home and instead embraced the difficulties of living on the road. They sacrificed their wealth by offering Christ expensive gifts. They sacrificed the known for the unknown. They sacrificed all of this because they believed God’s words and wanted to worship the Messiah, King Jesus.
This is not just an intriguing story. The recording of this event should have an impact on our lives. Consider the following questions:
As you think about each of the Gifts of Christmas that you have looked at over the past several days, through the blogs written on this website, please consider the following:
Determine with me to worship Christ today by obeying Romans 12:1
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
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