Listen:  82 Question 1

Let’s read Matthew 2:1-2, “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.”  The Bible tells us of these wise men that came from the east, but it doesn’t tell us how many men there were.  The Greek word for ‘wise men’ is ‘magos’, which means a scientist or magician.  These were men of great wisdom that sought the Lord.

Let’s keep reading to learn more about this very interesting event.  Matthew 2:3-6 says, “When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.”  Herod was very concerned when these wise men of the Orient told him that they were looking to find the King of the Jews.  He gathered the chief priests and scribes to find out where the Christ, or Messiah, would be born.  These men had knowledge of the Old Testament scriptures and properly told Herod that the Christ would be born in Bethlehem.  Matthew 2:6 is a loose quote of Micah 5:2 which says, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”  It’s sad that, with this knowledge of where the Christ would be born, these chief priest and scribes showed no interest in going to Bethlehem to see the Christ child.  In fact, the chief priests and scribes constantly opposed the Lord Jesus during His earthly ministry.

Let’s keep reading.  Matthew 2:7-12 says, “Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.  And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.”  Herod pointed these wise men towards Bethlehem.  He told them that he also wanted to worship this new king and wanted them to return after they found the babe and let him know where the baby was.  It is thought by some that since three gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh were brought for the Lord, there must have been three men bringing them.  This is conjecture and there is nothing in the Bible that tells us that the number was limited to three.  In spite of the manger scenes that we often see, notice that the wise men did not find the babe in the manger, rather they found the ‘young child’ in a house.

We read in Matthew 2:13-16, “And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men..”  After being warned not to return to Herod, these men returned to their homes another way.  When Herod realized the wise men were not coming back to him, he had all the children that were two years old and younger killed.  This gives us reason to believe that almost two years had passed since the birth of the Lord and, Herod, to make sure he killed the Christ child, had all those two years and under killed.  This explains why the wise men found the child in a house, rather than in the manger.  They found Him much later; after Joseph and Mary had left the manger and moved into a house.

We see God’s care of His dear son in that he had Joseph and Mary take the child to Egypt to protect him from Herod’s wrath.  His divine purposes would not be stopped by this, or any other, man.  Consider the words of the Lord Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane before going to the cross.  John 12:27 says, “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.”  Christ came to die; He came to die for our sins.  Nothing could prevent that.