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What Makes a Wise Man Wise?

What Makes a Wise Man Wise?

What Makes a Wise Man Wise?

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Written by Amy Byrd.

Matthew 2:1-12


Camels, a bright star, a long journey, gifts and three men have been labeled as the wise men of the Christmas story.  These men are a bit mysterious to me.  We really don’t know much about them except that they were from the East (maybe Babylon, Persia or Arabia) and were probably Gentiles; they were intellectuals that studied the stars, and they had some knowledge of Jesus through prophecy and revelation.   So why do we call them wise men?


They were on a journey to find, the one BORN King of the Jews.  Isn’t that an amazing statement?  They weren’t looking for just any king but one that had been born a King.  When the wise men arrived in Jerusalem they didn’t just stop the first passer-by to inquire about this new born King. They stopped by King Herod’s house and asked him face to face where this new born King could be found.  Yes, that’s right; they asked the reigning king of the Jews where to find the one BORN king of the Jews.  The Bible records his reaction. He was disturbed and all of Jerusalem with him!

An amazing piece of trivia is that Jerusalem is only 5.52 miles from Bethlehem where this infant King of Kings had been born approximately two years earlier.  Seemingly no person from Jerusalem had made the short trip to take a gift to their King.  No baby showers to welcome Him, no ceremonies to crown Him King.  They had access to the King of Kings and did not even know how close He was to them.  Yet, a seeking heart sent several men from far away on the journey of a lifetime to find the One they believed to be born a King.


We have a mental picture of a large star hanging so very close to the roof of a stable that it seems to almost touch it.  However, there are a couple of things wrong with that imagery.  When the wise men found Jesus, He probably was a toddling two year old that was living with His Mom and Dad in a home of some kind.  The stable was not their home.  It had simply been the birthing room where God’s Son made His first human appearance.  The star obviously had not been recognized by everyone.  The Bible tells us that these men saw His star when it first rose in the sky and had been following it on their journey to find this newborn King.  When the star moved, they moved.  And finally, when the star stopped (Matthew 2:9) they stopped and were overjoyed because they saw the King they had been searching for.

Can you imagine how much they would have missed if along their tiresome journey they had stopped before God’s light had stopped?   The days must have been long and dusty and hot.    They probably encountered many dangers, toils and snares along the road for the two years they travelled.  Yet, they never lost sight of where they were going because they kept their eyes on the light of God’s revelation, not the journey.


These wise men were coming for one purpose…to WORSHIP the King of Kings.  They did not try to hide this from anyone, including the reigning king, Herod.  There was no fear in their hearts.  Intentional worship was the fuel that kept them moving.  I get excited with these fellows when I read about their first view of Jesus.  They bowed down and worshipped Him!  I know there must have been tears streaming down their dusty faces as they viewed this darling little boy.   I wonder what Mary and Joseph must have experienced as these wise men from very far away fell on their knees and worshipped their baby boy.  Perhaps after the worship service they held the small King on their lap, kissing His chubby cheeks and bouncing Him on their knee.  He probably hugged them tightly when they left and waved until He could no longer see them.  I hope that when I get to Heaven God allows me to watch the rerun of this moment.

Their worship extended beyond their posture and praise.  They brought out gifts, large gifts, sacrificial gifts to show this small King their homage.  Gold, frankincense and myrrh were very valuable and would have been gifts that one would give to honor a king in the ancient world.  The wise men may not have known how symbolic their gifts were to this baby King.  Gold would represent His deity as a true King, frankincense was used in sacrificial worship as a sweet smelling incense and myrrh was used in death as an embalming herb.  They gave Him their best.  They honored Him with their treasure.

I wonder what Mary and Joseph did with those gifts.  It seems unreasonable that they kept them on display, because soon after the wise men left them, they had to immigrate to Egypt as they ran for the safety of their son.  Maybe they used the gold to help with the finances of their flight.  Perhaps the frankincense and myrrh was used in their worship ceremonies.  What we give to Jesus with a heart of sacrifice, love, praise and worship will always be used for His glory.  He is not a hoarder!  He is a multiplier!

The magical moments these wise men must have experienced were well worth the long, hard journey.  I can imagine the stories they told around their campfires by night as they rehearsed the moment they met this awesome little boy King.  Their lives would never be the same.  The lives they touched with the story of Jesus would never be the same.

Oh Come Let Us Adore Him!

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