Journey Through The Bible
Old Testament Reading: 2 Chronicles 22-24
New Testament Reading: Matthew 2
Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their own country by another route (Matthew 2:11-12).
Reaction to Jesus’ birth was mixed. The Wisemen came to worship Jesus, while King Herod tried to kill him. Matthew does not tell us the number of Wisemen that came. The traditional notion that there were 3 stems from the number of gifts they brought.
By the time the Wisemen arrived, Mary and Joseph were in a house, not the stable where He was born. Mary and Joseph had already traveled to Jerusalem to have Jesus dedicated at the temple. We are not told why they did not continue to Nazareth to their family and former home. Instead, they returned to Bethlehem and established a home there. Even after returning from Egypt after King Herod died, they returned to Judea. They only when to Nazareth after being warned in another dream to go to Galilee because Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod (v22-24).
Perhaps they did so to avoid the scandal surrounding the out-of-wedlock birth that would have followed them in Nazareth. The people in Bethlehem had heard all the amazing reports about their baby from the shepherds and were hospitable to Mary and Joseph.
In this short story of the Wisemen’s visit, there are two important lessons for Christians to understand.
The first lesson we draw from Mary and Joseph. God had a plan for them and provided for their needs. God was not taken by surprise that King Herod wanted to kill the infant. After the Wisemen worshiped Jesus, God warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod (v12).
Then, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Get up! Take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. For Herod is about to search for the child to kill him” (v13).
But to travel to Egypt and live in a foreign land would be expensive. How could Joseph afford to do that? God had already taken care of the finances with the gifts that the Wisemen had brought!
During this time, Mary and Joseph must have felt like life was spiraling out of control. They were living in a new city where they did not know people. The King was out to kill their son (and perhaps them as well), and then they had to flee to a foreign country. But there was no need for them to panic, for God was in control—not King Herod—and God was providing for them.
We draw the second lesson from the Wisemen. When they saw the star, they left their homes to worship Him and brought gifts from their treasures. Why would they bring gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh? What use would a newborn baby have for these? They brought what they had without knowing the reason. When the Wisemen brought the gifts, there wasn’t yet a need for them, but they provided for the need that God knew was coming.
Today, we may not understand why we are in the situation we are in, nor the difficulties we face. It may seem like our lives are spiraling out of control. But we can have peace of mind and take comfort in knowing that God knows all about our situation. Just like Mary and Joseph, He will take care of us.
Instead of worrying and fretting about our lives, we are to follow the example of the Wisemen. We are to worship the Lord and offer our gifts to Him of our time, talents, and treasures. It doesn’t matter if we don’t presently see the need for our gifts. Like the Wisemen’s gifts, God may inspire us to give in faith now, for a need that only He knows is about to come.