Wise men and the providence of God
This passage shows us the visit of the wise men to the young child Jesus. This is only recorded in the book of Matthew and contrary to popular thought the wise men did not come to the manger but Jesus could have been a few years old at this time. Note in the passage he is said to be a young child never a babe. Also at the end of the passage after enquiring with the wise men Herod had the children 2 years old and under killed in an attempt to kill Jesus.
Now there is much we can learn in a spiritual sense from the visit of the wise men. As it says in Proverbs 13:20 “He that walketh with wisemen shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall be destroyed”. In this sermon we will look at some things the wise men did and how God blessed them for those things. If we would also do those things I believe God will bless us too.
1) The wise men sought Jesus (verse 2)
It is interesting that the first question in the New Testament is “where is he that is born King of the Jews?” The wise men were seeking a King.
How did the wise men know to even look for a king?
They simply trusted the scripture that they had at the time. Therefore one of the first characteristics of wise men is that they trust the word of God. The question would then become what scripture did the wise men have access to? Remember they could have had any of the Old Testament that was written before the children of Judah were carried away captive into Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. These wise men were most likely from this area. They would also have had access to the prophesy that Daniel wrote while he was a captive in Babylon.
- In Numbers 24:17 there is a prophesy of a Scepter and a Star coming out of Israel. The scepter is connected with a king. This is also seen in Genesis 49:10.
- With the prophesy of Daniel’s 70 weeks in Daniel 9:25-26 and the known date for the command to rebuild Jerusalem (445-446 B.C.) from Artaxerxes in Nehemiah 2:1, you can get the date of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.
- Then by knowing from the law that a priest was to be 30 years of age to start his ministry (Numbers 4:43 with 1 Samuel 2:35) you could back off and get within a few years of the birth of Jesus Christ.
- Therefore the wise men if they had been studying these things knew when and where to look. So when they saw the star in the east they knew what it meant because the time was right.
- This is also why Herod wanted to know what time the star had appeared. How do you think he knew to kill the children two years old and under.
The question for us then is do we study the scriptures, the wise men did and God rewarded them for it.
2) The wise men worshipped the King (verse 11)
The next thing that wise men do is worship Jesus. When we look at the worship of the wise men it is connected with 3 things. Our worship of Jesus should be connected with these 3 things also.
Seeking – “where is he that is born king of the Jews”
- To worship Jesus we must first seek him out.
Humility – “Fell Down” (1 Peter 5:5-7)
- We cannot worship God in pride.
Sacrifice – “Presented out of their treasures” (Romans 12:1-2)
- We are to give the best we have to God also. Not just money but time, energy, talents, opportunities etc.
3) God’s providence is given to the wise (verse 12)
God blesses the wise men by warning them not to return to Herod but to depart into their country another way.
We must remember that God is a rewarder of them that come to him believing he is and diligently seeking him. We see this in the visit of the wise men and we also will see it in our own lives if we will do the same things as the wise men.