Welcome to Episode 20 of the Simple Christians podcast! I’m excited that episode 20 is being aired on December 24, Christmas Eve.
I figured this is a good time to talk about three of the undervalued people in the Jesus birth story, the three wise men.
Last episode, I welcomed you to the battle, because there is a spiritual battle raging constantly around us. And if we’re going to be part of this battle being Christians, we need to be armored up for that battle.
I talked about the armor that you can put on to prepare yourself for that battle also. So click here to listen to that episode.
This episode, I’m excited to talk about three wise men. I think a lot of the interpretations of the Bible interpreted this different; they said wise men, but it’s kind of like for Harry Potter fans.
The first book of Harry Potter was called “The Philosopher’s Stone,” because the philosopher in English (or England’s English) is the word for magician, or sorcerer.
But in America, we don’t think of philosophers as magicians or sorcerers. In America, a philosopher is more of a person who reads a lot and thinks on the existence of man.
That’s why they had to change the movie title to “The Sorcerer’s Stone.”
I don’t know what the word is in the original Greek, but it was translated wise men. They weren’t wise men, they were Magi or magicians. They came from Persia most likely. I’m guessing here, although I have done a little bit of research on this.
But they most likely came from Persia and they were most likely very influential people. Chances are they would be like today’s versions of a senator or a congressman, very important and very respected for their opinions. These Magi were also astrologers, they watched the sky for signs.
And yes, it’s very cultish. They weren’t Jewish, they weren’t Christian. Of course, there was no such thing as a Christian then, but they weren’t Jewish at all; they had nothing to do with the Jewish religion. There’s a good chance that they didn’t even know anything about the Jewish religion.
Now, a couple things that are in popular literature that I want to talk about here.
We don’t know how many there were, but there were probably a lot, including their entourage, their security and everything else. When you think about a senator, when does he ever go anywhere alone, never. And a president usually has 20 people, including the Secret Service people around him at all times. So these people didn’t go alone. And if there were three or four or five of them, then have their security and the entourage for each of them.
This was most likely a caravan of people. What we do know is that there were three gifts that were given to Jesus, but we don’t know how many people were there.
So when the star came up, when Jesus was born, the star shone over him. And the Magi who started to follow that star probably prepared for it first. It took a long took a long time back then to prepare to travel. Think about how we prepare to do air travel.
These people were probably preparing for a several month, if not a year long, trip. They probably took time to prepare and then took off on this trip and it lasted several months. When they got to Jesus, he wasn’t in a manger. He was in a house. And that’s biblically accurate.
I find this interesting. When the wise men came to the land of the Jews, they stopped and talked to Herod the king first. Of course, Herod is more of a title or like a last name so we don’t know which Herod it was at that time, but he was not a good, king.
Anyway, they came to Herod to find out where the new King of the Jews was. And Herod didn’t like that because Herod was the king of the Jews back then. But he didn’t act like he didn’t like it. He acted like he wanted to know this new King of the Jews as well so he could worship the baby. And so he told them that he didn’t know and sent the wise men on their way saying “Sorry, I don’t know where he is.”
The wise men kept following the star.
King Herod assembled his people, and they went through the Old Testament to find out that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Of course, they didn’t know his name, but they knew that Bethlehem was where the new King of the Jews was going to be born.
The wise men went Bethlehem, this is about two years after Jesus was born and Mary and Joseph were now living in a house.
The wise men go there and worship Jesus. They brought him gold and frankincense and myrrh. And we talk about that a lot in the story: gold, frankincense and myrrh. Frankincense, in its weight was probably worth five times as much as gold, and myrrh, probably 10 times as much as gold. This was expensive stuff.
So these Magi came to Jerusalem to worship this baby and give his parents probably, in today’s equivalents 10s of thousands of dollars worth of gifts: They were rich, they could have lived for years off of that money.
Matthew 2:10-12. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with May his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him. Then opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
When the Magi came to Jesus, they found him in a house. I’m figuring Jesus was about two years old at that point.
So those cute little things easy with a manger and the sheep, and the three wise men giving him gifts. That’s all cute, but it’s not real. It’s not Biblically accurate.
What is Biblically accurate is that it was later and he was in a house. So who were these three Magi really?
Chances are they’re Zoroastrians. What is Zoroastrian? The religion of Zoroastrianism was formed at about 600 BC, so it was a pretty old religion. By that time, they’d been around for 600 years. And the seat of power for this religion was in Persia. These people actually did a lot of the things close to Judaism; they believed in doing good things, giving good gifts, and being of service, which is most likely part of the reason why they came to give these gifts to Jesus, Mary and Joseph (aside from God leading them to it, of course).
Zoroastrians were also astrologists. And I do believe that the modern astrology cult came from Zoroastrianism.
What gets me is, really think about it. Because I see this so often today. Here are some men that get a sign from God about the King of the Jews. They even called him the king of the Jews.
God told them, “I want you to go see the king, the new King of the Jews.” They knew he was a baby, they knew from the beginning that he wasn’t an adult.
And yet, they also knew that he was a king, and who but God would have sent them there? I mean, the God of the Jews.
And so they spend all this time preparing to go there. And they go to Bethlehem, and they see the king of the Jews, they see Jesus in person. They give him the gifts and then they leave.
I have seen so many people, people that I know well, that get a gift from God, or God heard their prayer and gave a great gift to someone else. And they even pray to God for the thing to happen.
And then what happens is they say, “Oh, that was lucky.” And they go about their day, they don’t even acknowledge that it was God that did it.
They just went back to their old lives. I don’t understand things like that. I guess I shouldn’t say that.
There was a large time of my life when I wasn’t a Christian and I look back on it and see where God intervened more than once, and I didn’t recognize it.
So I guess I do see it in a way. But it is still sad. And so today, I urge you, maybe you’re listening to this and you’re not really a Christian or you’re maybe a brand new Christian and you’re questioning things.
Yeah, the road is not easy. And like I said last episode, yeah, you’re going to join a battle. You’re not in the battle now because the battle is kind of one sided; It’s only the devil attacking God’s will.
Not that he really could attack God’s will, but he tries very hard to do that. But God’s not attacking back; he doesn’t need to, he’s God.
So if you’re not on God’s side, then the devil has no reason to attack you. But when you become a Christian, yeah, you do come under attack; you come under spiritual attack.
And it’s tough sometimes, but oh, it’s so worth it. So think of yourself as being one of those wise men, or think of the last time that God intervened in your life, something that happened to you that was a great thing needed right at the time when you needed it the most, and there’s no explanation for it. Yeah, there is an explanation for it. It’s called God.
Go to your local church, get baptized, start serving there. This is Christmas time. And we mistake Christmas time so much for the giving of gifts to our family or spending too much money on gifts, really. Christmas time is a time of giving, but it’s not about giving gifts; It’s about giving of ourselves and showing people what Christ did for us.
It really has nothing to do with gifts, giving time, helping other people.
Even going to church yourself and just committing to Christ can be huge. So I urge you, if you have anything inside of you at all that is leading you to do that, do it now.
Because you know that the longer you wait, the less likely you’re going to do it. So don’t wait any longer.
Tomorrow’s Christmas Day. It’s perfect. If the church isn’t open on Christmas Day, the church that I go to is actually closed for the rest of the year. Go to another church or talk to a believer, talk to someone you know that it’s a believer. If nothing else, click here to contact me. I’d be happy to exchange messages with you, and maybe lead you to people in your local area where you can get more help.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Simple Christians.
Do me a favor, right now, share this with your friends. Share it to Facebook or Twitter (the links are at the top). Help your friends learn more about the love of Christ.