Perhaps, you, as this writer, have been intrigued by the account of the three wise men or magi.  We know that from a examination of Scripture, that these men arrived on the scene at least a year after the Savior’s birth.  Tradition of course presents a different story, but Scripture must always be that which defines Truth. But the bigger question concerns their knowledge of the birth of Christ.  “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, magi from the east arrived 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" (Matt 2:1-2). History reveals that these wise men were members of a hereditary priestly class among the ancient Medes and Persians. That fact should trigger our thinking toward the Biblical account of a man who served the Living God for over seventy years during the Babylonian and Medo-Persian empires some 600 years before the birth of Christ.  His name was Daniel, who was taken to Babylon as a teenager along with fellow members of Judah’s royalty and nobility.  “Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his officials, to bring in some of the sons of Israel, including some of the royal family and of the nobles, youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding, and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the king's court; and he ordered him to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans” (Dan 1:3-4). The narrative reveals that Daniel, Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego resolved to continue observing the Jewish dietary laws and remain faithful in their worship of the God of Israel.  “And as for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom” (Dan 1:17).  “And as for every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and conjurers who were in all his realm” (Dan 1:20). It was the faithful witness of these men before Nebuchadnezzar and Darius that these two rulers eventually came to a saving knowledge of God.  "Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise, exalt, and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride" (Dan 4:37).  The spiritual impact of Daniel and his friends would continue for hundreds of years.  Jesus in his earthly ministry, referred to Daniel’s prophecies concerning the end times … "Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Matt 24:15-16). Thus we realize that the magi knew the Hebrew Scriptures and understood the prophecies given by Moses and Daniel concerning Messiah.  “A star shall come forth from Jacob, and a scepter shall rise from Israel” (Num 24:17).  “And lo, the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them, until it came and stood over where the Child was.  And when they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.  And they came into the house and saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell down and worshiped Him; and opening their treasures they presented to Him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. The witness of faithful captives six hundred years earlier, continued to herald the good news of the Savior’s birth. Those gifts each had significance and spoke of Christ: the gold, King of the Jews; frankincense, Deity; myrrh, fragrant perfume used for embalming, speaking of his sacrifice on the Cross to pay for the sins of the world.  Just as the Magi believed the Scriptures and found them true, so you and I can place our faith in this Jesus who died and rose again and receive in return, the forgiveness of sins and the free gift of eternal life.

Comment