Lesson 104: Wise men visit Jesus

This account, found in Matt. 2:1-17, tells the story of the magi (wise men) who visit Jesus (Matt. 2:1-17).

This story, like many others in scripture, leaves many questions unanswered. And in the case of this particular account, there are no apparent clues in the rest of the Bible that could help to answer questions like…

Who were the magi?
Where did they come from?
How could a star guide them so precisely?

Clearly, God is content to leave these and many other questions unanswered. Possibly (likely) so we won’t get side-tracked by insignificant details, but instead stay focused on the main point of the story. And the main point of this story seems to be that God supernaturally led the magi directly to Jesus so they could WORSHIP him. And in this story we see the prototype for proper worship of God:

  • Go where He leads,
  • recognize Him for who He is (our Creator, Savior and Only Hope)
  • Offer our best (our lives, hearts, gifts, offerings, praise, song, etc) to Him as an expression of
    our Joy in Him.

This story, in combination with the rest of the nativity story (angels, miracles, celebration) further highlights the truly epic nature of the birth of Jesus, AND anticipates that His coming to earth was for the benefit of all nations, not just the Jews.

Memory verse: We saw his star as it rose, and have come to worship him. Matthew 2:2

Narrative:

Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time, some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is He who has been born king of the Jews? We saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him.”

King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”

“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:

‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah,

are not least among the ruling cities of Judah,

for a ruler will come from you

who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”

Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”

After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.

After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, and they stayed there until Herod’s death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my Son out of Egypt.”

Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men’s report of the star’s first appearance. Herod’s brutal action fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah many years before.