Day 28 – Wise men arrive.
The Wise Men arrived in Bethlehem. Mary, Joseph, and Jesus had been out of the stable by now and living in a house for about two years by the time the Wise Men came. Who were these Wise Men? They came from the East, probably from Persia (modern-day Iran), and would have traveled about 800-900 miles by the stars to get to Bethlehem. The prophet Daniel had been the chief of the court seers at an earlier time in Persia during the Jewish exile, so these men would have been familiar with Daniel’s prophecy regarding the timing of the Messiah.
They were learned men and confident of their knowledge too. They would not have traveled such a far distance on just a hunch. When they arrived in Jerusalem, they asked King Herod where the King of the Jews had been born. They already knew he had been born. And they already knew who He was.
They also must have been important men, to have the attention of King Herod. But Herod had not been expecting them – they came unannounced. That was unusual for the times, but perhaps the Wise Men knew of King Herod’s reputation as a ruthless King and thought it better to not cause trouble ahead of time. King Herod was also an Edomite, who came from the descendants of Esau, Jacob’s twin brother from their father Isaac. Esau had given up his birthright and blessing to Jacob, who later became the nation of Israel. Throughout the history of the Old Testament, the Edomites had always been at conflict with Israel, and now it continued with King Herod.
The Wise Men were not Kings themselves but Magi (magicians) or astronomers. But they believed. They had studied the history of the Jews and their prophecies. Perhaps it is symbolic that Jesus was already having victory over darkness through these Magi. And King Herod and the rest of Jerusalem were not happy about it.
Matthew tells us the story of the Wise Men’s visit.
From the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 2
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived unexpectedly in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”
When King Herod heard this, he was deeply disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Messiah would be born.
“In Bethlehem of Judea,” they told him, “because this is what was written by the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the leaders of Judah:
because out of you will come a leader
who will shepherd My people Israel.”
Then Herod secretly summoned the wise men and asked them the exact time the star appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you find Him, report back to me so that I too can go and worship Him.”
May you open your heart to the wonderful possibilities that can come from knowing Jesus.
* Merry Christmas *
A Christmas Story Devotional: 31 Days of the Christmas Story from Genesis to John
Follow along for the 31 days of December and experience a new and exciting appreciation for the ancient Christmas story we celebrate today. The story of Jesus and the meaning behind the celebration of Christmas is woven throughout the entire Bible – from the beginning of mankind in Genesis to the resurrection of Jesus as told by the apostle John some 4000 years later.
Paperback and Kindle versions are available from Amazon.