Early in His earthly life, our Lord was honored by some unique visitors.
I. WHO WERE THE MAGI?
A. Matthew 2:1, 7, 16
Whereas many translations identify these visitors as merely “wise men” (KJV, NKJV, ESV, ASV), others more helpfully present them as “magi” (NASB, NASU, NIV).
B. Acts 8:9; 13:6-8
These men were in the same category as the sorcerer who deceived Samaria, and the sorcerer who deceived the proconsul. They practiced magic—they were not illusionists who entertained, but false prophets who deceived.
C. Isaiah 49:6; Acts 2:39
Christ brought “salvation to the ends of the earth”. Even foreigners whose practices were wicked came to Him.
II. WHAT GIFTS DID THE MAGI BRING?
A. Matthew 2:11
They brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
B. Genesis 2:11-12; Exodus 30:34-38; Psalm 45:6-8
The intrinsic worth of gold, due to its scarcity, has been recognized since the earliest times. Frankincense was an ingredient in a proprietary recipe for incense in the tabernacle. Myrrh is an aromatic substance which prophecy foretold Christ would be perfumed with. Each of these gifts are highly valuable.
C. Romans 12:8b; 2nd Corinthians 9:7
Generosity should characterize all giving.
III. WHEN DID THE MAGI ARRIVE?
A. Matthew 2:16
“According to the time… determined”, the Christ was thought to be up to “two years old”. They did not arrive the night of His birth.
B. Luke 2:1-20
The night of Jesus’ birth, shepherds were present, but there is no indication the magi were there at the same time. These were separate events.
C. 2nd Timothy 2:15
While it may be of little importance just when the magi met the King of the Jews, the misconceptions relative to this occasion underscore the fact that few “rightly divide the word of truth”.
IV. WHERE WERE THE MAGI FROM?
A. Matthew 2:1-2
They were “from the East”, implying a land some distance removed—perhaps Persia or further. They were willing to go the distance in order to glorify the Lord.
B. 1st Kings 12:25-30
Saying, “it is too much for you” to go to Jerusalem, the place God designated the Jews to worship, Jeroboam redirected the northern tribes to worship in Dan and Bethel. The wicked king deceived his people to think convenience outweighs truth.
C. Luke 9:23; Romans 12:1
Serving Christ means being decidedly inconvenienced. When being a Christian doesn’t involve hardship, something is wrong.
V. HOW DID THE MAGI KNOW?
A. Matthew 2:2
They were guided by a star.
B. Genesis 1:14; Deuteronomy 4:19; Numbers 24:17
Stars and other celestial bodies were created for, among other things, “signs”. This must not be interpreted too broadly since astrology and the like are condemned severely. Most likely, navigation is intended. Even so, Jesus is a “Star”, so it is fitting one led them to Him.
C. Daniel 5:11-12; 4:37; 6:25-28; 9:25
God’s prophet Daniel was set as chief over the magicians in Babylon. By his influence the emperors of Babylon and Persia came to honor the true God. This Daniel prophesied of the coming Messiah. It is fitting to think a Messianic prophet who influenced idolatrous kings and was set over the magi, might instruct those under his command to anticipate a certain sign accompanying the birth of the King of the Jews.
VI. WHY DID THE MAGI COME?
A. Matthew 2:2, 11
They came “to worship Him”.
B. Matthew 8:2; 9:18; 14:33; 15:25; 20:20; 28:17
Jesus was worshipped many times during His life and, unlike angels and apostles who were worshipped, did not refuse those who did so. He received worship because He is worthy of it.
C. Matthew 4:10
He said that only God should be worshipped. Since He is God, it is appropriate to bow down and praise Him.
by: Bryan Matthew Dockens
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