Wise Men and God’s Offer to All John 1:1-9-14
The so called “wise men” were not really wise at all in God’s eyes. They were only wise in the eyes of the pagans in the East. They were Magi—astrologers, occultists who practiced and studied the very things that God prohibits in his word: Deuteronomy 18:10-14. None-the- less, God enticed them to follow a star (which they were eager to do) to lead them to the promised Messiah of the Jews that would eventually bring salvation to them and to anyone who would receive Him. John’s gospel beautifully explains, in condensed form, the coming of Jesus into this world, his rejection by the Jews and the world, and His offer to “all” who would believe in His name. In one paragraph John explains the offer of God extended to all mankind, which is How to become children of God born by God. The story of the Magi illustrates three things to us:
1.) God offers salvation to anyone (Near or far and physically or spiritually) who will come and get it!
2.) God will bring them by any means necessary in order to get them to Himself.
3.) If we seek God we will find Him just as He promises. Matthew 7:7-8
What Happened to the Magi? Matthew 7:6-11
Have you ever wondered what happened to the Magi after they traveled so far, saw Jesus, delivered their gifts, outwitted Herod and went home another route (Matthew 2:12)? The Bible never speaks of them again, but what can we infer from their actions? We can be sure that when God led the Magi to Himself that He did not give what was sacred to dogs. He did not cast His pearls before swine. They did everything that Jesus later instructed in Matthew 7:6-1 to find the truth. They both asked God for direction and they sought after Him.
His promise for such a seeker is “good gifts” according to Matthew 7:11b. We can also clearly understand through the gospel account that the Magi bowed down and worshipped Jesus according to Matthew 2:11a. This means that they humbly acknowledged Him as deity (God).
What do you think those Magi did when they got home? Do you think they continued following the occult and the ways of magic or did they study more diligently the sacred scrolls of the Old Testament that prophesied about Jesus? Do you think they kept their trip to themselves or did they tell their family, friends and anyone else who would listen? Do you think they forgot all about Jesus or do you think perhaps their sons or others they told later inquired about the ministry of Jesus, his death and miraculous resurrection? In my mind there is no doubt that these Magi did indeed become wise men who made their people ready to hear the gospel of Christ that would later come to them through Jesus’ disciples.
Christianity arrived in Iran during the Parthian (Ashkanian) period. In the first century AD, it is mentioned that on “the Day of Pentecost there were at Jerusalem “Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and inhabitants of Mesopotamia”(Acts 2:9). Early Christian records mention that Peter and Thomas preached the Gospel to the Parthians and men such as Thaddaeus and Bartholomew evangelized the races of Mesopotamia and Persia. Syriac documents also indicate that towards the beginning of the third century the Christians in the Persian territories had some three hundred and sixty churches, and many martyrs. I think that we can assume rightfully that the Magi brought the first word of Christ to their people.
Taking It To Others Romans 10:14, Philippians 2:15
Who is bringing Christ to your people? Your children, your grand children, your friends and co-workers? How then can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? Romans 10:14 The early Magi of Babylon likely passed down what they learned from the prophet Daniel who was a Jewish captive in Babylon, and a dedicated servant of God, hundreds of years before that Star shined on the Magi at Jesus’ birth. He was the first witness in Persia that eventually brought the salvation of Christ to millions there.
Have you asked God for direction and sought after Him? Has He given you “good gifts” as He promised? Have you humbly offered the gift of your worship to Jesus? When God spoke to you did you take another route home? Did you repent (turn and go another way)? What have you done since that day? Are you taking Christ to others? Are you shinning like that Bethlehem star? Are you behaving like wise men and women? Are you living a godly example like Daniel? The great preacher D.L. Moody once said: “Out of one hundred men, one will read the Bible, the other ninety-nine will read the Christian.” What is written on the pages of your life?
The above teaching was the second in a two part series on Epiphany (The celebration of Three Kings Day) given by Pastor Barry at The Gathering Church.