by: Matt Alexander
Matthew 2:1-12 introduces a set of very important characters to the Christmas story. Magi come from the East to worship the newborn Son of God. Tradition has often taught us that there were three of these men who made the long journey with expensive gifts. However, as with any Biblical story we should examine the text of scripture itself and not tradition alone. We often associate three wise men because there were three gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. However, there could have been two men with three gifts or multiple men with three gifts. The point is we simply do not know the number of wise men but neither is it necessary.
What we learn from these men is far more important than trying to figure out their number.
The wise men come with costly gifts to worship Jesus despite Herod’s attempts to use them as informants. Herod was powerful. He held the cards and could determine the outcome of whomever he wished. The magi, however, believed that something supernatural was happening in Bethlehem that was of far more importance than the orders of Herod. One could assume that many people were visiting Bethlehem in these days just to get a glimpse of what was taking place. The wise men were not journeying to Bethlehem to be nosey, they were coming because Jesus was worthy. The magi were expected to give allegiance to Herod, instead they are bowing at the feet of Jesus with their very best.
What a way to live! Are you bringing your very best to Jesus on a daily basis despite man’s attempts to rob your joy and diminish your witness? We think of presents at Christmas namely because God gave us the best present of all but also because these earthly magi bring their best to Jesus. We can be so guilty of giving our best to our boss, our country, or our hobbies and leaving the rest to God.
God alone deserves your best. If God is getting the best of your time, energy, and resources then everyone else in your life will feel valued as well. I love Christmas because it means the Gospel is available to all. I love celebrating Christmas with my family because I love seeing the joy on their faces as they open that gift that I knew was the perfect one. What a solemn reminder to live each day with the awareness that every day is Christmas. I must live to bring joy to God above all. I must not seek man’s approval that is fleeting but God’s approval that is everlasting. I do this by bringing my best to God each and every day and in so doing find myself among the wise men.
Are you among the wise men?