Life’s journey has a purpose
Published 10:47 am Thursday, December 22, 2022
I want to begin by wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to read the Solution Column. I pray it continues to bless each of you. I want to bring something to your attention in this Christmas edition of the Solution Column about the wise men who came to visit Jesus. We know that these men were from “the East,” most likely Persia, or modern-day Iran. This means the wise men traveled 800 to 900 miles to see the Christ-child. It was quite a journey to Bethlehem. It would have taken them approximately 13 months. Can you imagine leaving your home to travel 900 miles following a star to visit a child you did not know?
Most likely, the Magi knew of the writings of the prophet Daniel, who had, in time past, been the chief of the court seers in Persia. Daniel 9:24-27 includes a prophecy which gives a timeline for the birth of the Messiah. The Bible never mentions how many Magi came from the East, but it has been traditionally represented as three most likely because there were three different types of gifts. Another misconception is that the Magi came when Jesus was an infant; however, Jesus was a child. Herod slayed all the male children from two years old and under to ensure the Christ child died. Herod was extremely jealous and worried about his throne.
So, the wise men were men who 1) read and believed God’s Word, 2) sought Jesus, 3) recognized the worth of Christ, 4) humbled themselves to worship Jesus, and 5) obeyed God rather than man. They were truly wise men! Numbers 24:17, “I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.” Isn’t it amazing that we find the prophecy of the wise men in the writings of Moses from thousands of years earlier? The Bible tells us that these men brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Jesus. These gifts foreshadowed who this child was and what he would do. The gold represented him as King of all Kings, the frankincense proved he was the great high priest, and the myrrh anointed him for burial. Jesus was born to die! Although these gifts describe the attributes of God, there is another reason they were given.
Would these gifts serve more of a purpose? In the scriptures, we find the angel of God telling Joseph to get Jesus and his mother into Egypt and to remain there until further instructions came. It takes financial resources to travel. When God warned Joseph to flee to Egypt quickly, he had the financial resources on hand to afford a rapidly arranged, indefinite stay in a foreign nation because of the gifts from the Magi. These gifts prevented the death of Christ. It would have been almost impossible to get Jesus into Egypt without the gifts from the wise men. Jesus’ financial resources were confirmed by the fact that He and His large band of disciples traveled for years without any visible means of support. Could it be that these initial gifts given to Jesus at his birth supported Him throughout His entire ministry? It is a great possibility that Mary and Joseph saved this money and gave to Jesus when he began His public ministry.
Why is all of this important? The wise men had journeyed 900 miles with a purpose. They found the Christ-child, presented their gifts, prevented his death from Herod, and funded his earthly ministry. This Christmas I want you to recognize that your journey has a purpose. I am not sure if the wise men fully understood their purpose and how God was going to use them, but they continued the journey. We must continue to journey through life and know that God is using our lives to further his ministry.
(Brandon Young is pastor of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton)