day 17 :: We Three Kings

Matthew 2:1-11 is where we find ourselves this morning.  The key Scripture from today’s advent card {a free printable advent card} is Matthew 2:2.

“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”

Let’s start today with some myth-busting about the story of the wise men:

Myth No.1 :: the Wise Men were Kings. False.  The wise men were not kings, much to the disappointment of the writer of today’s song selection.  The wise men were magi & magi was the name given by the Babylonians (Chaldeans), Medes, Persians, and others, to the wise men, teachers, priests, physicians, astrologers, seers, interpreters of dreams, augers, soothsayers, sorcerers etc.  In all likely hood the wise men were more akin to magicians/scientists than kings.

Myth No.2 :: There were Three Wise Men.  Perhaps.  The word used to describe them in Scripture is plural, so we know there are at least 2, but that’s as much as we know for sure.  We know they brought 3 specific gifts -gold, frankincense & myrrh.  Two could have brought these gifts or 10 could have brought them.  We just don’t know.  Again, unfortunate for the author of our Christmas carol today.

Myth No. 3 :: The Wise Men were at the Birth.  False.  Although nearly every one of our nativity scenes includes them, they most likely didn’t arrive until Jesus was a bit older.  Matthew 2:11a “And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him.“.  {emphasis mine}.  It is also likely the reason that King Herod had all boys 2 and under killed…Jesus was likely thought to be closer to 2 years old than a newborn.


 

I like the wise men part of the advent story.  The shepherds had no choice but to hear the news…they were visited by heralding angels.  Now I suppose they could have chalked it all up to indigestion & not given it a second thought, but…

The wise men on the other hand.  They discovered the good news somewhat on their own.  They were familiar with the prophecy regarding the “star”.  This prophecy comes from Numbers 24:17.  And when they saw it, they knew what it was because they were prepared. Notice back to the key Scripture for today:

“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

They knew when they saw this star it was HIS STAR.  And they knew that HIS STAR belonged to the KING OF THE JEWS.  And they knew that the KING OF THE JEWS was to be WORSHIPPED.

So they waited and they watched.  And when they saw what they were watching for, they did what they knew they should do in response.

It’s unfortunate that for whatever reason they didn’t know the prophecy from Micah 5:2 that would have told them were to go.  Instead they just had to follow the star…follow God.  And they ended up having to ask directions from King Herod, who quickly put into motion his horrible, ruthless plan to kill all little boys.  And yet that decree caused Jesus to flee with his parents to Egypt & thus fulfilled more prophecy {Hosea 11:1}.  Amazing!

When I look at the wisemen I can’t help but wonder if I am like they were. Do I know prophecy enough to even know what I should be looking for?  Am I watching & waiting with expectation that prophecy will actually come forth as the Word says?  Am I ready to proceed and do what I know I need to do when I see that prophecy being realized?  Those are good questions to ponder as I listen today to a wonderful {yet heavily flawed} Christmas carol!

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