Wise Men Still Worship Him

Mike Willis
Danville, Indiana

Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in fulfillment of divine prophecy (see Mic. 5:2). After the babe's birth, Joseph and Mary continued to reside in Bethlehem for some time. During the time they resided there they were visited by wise men from the east who had followed a star which led them to Jesus.

Many have sung of the visit of these wise men in such traditional songs as the following:

We three kings of Orient are,

Bearing gifts, we traverse afar

Field and fountain, moor and mountain,

Following yonder star.

The song has errors in it; there is no reason for concluding that the wise men who came were kings or that their number was only three. But the visit of the wise men, as recorded in Matthew, is worthy of our study.

The Scriptures tell us the following: "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea 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" (2:1-2). These men who came to Jerusalem were Gentiles who were designated as magoi - Babylonian priests or wise men who were especially acquainted with the interpretation of stars.

The wise men had seen Jesus' star in the east and somehow understood that it appeared as a sign that the King of the Jews had been born. That this was no ordinary star is seen by the fact that it later appeared to the wise men as they left Jerusalem and journeyed to Bethlehem; it came and stood over where the child was. No ordinary star could do this.

Perhaps these wise men had been familiar with the prophecy of Baalam who said, "I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth" (Num. 24:17). Whether or not this is so, they did have some understanding of the Jewish Messianic expectation.

What the star could reveal to the wise men was limited. It only directed the wise men to Jerusalem where they inquired from Herod about the birth of the Messiah. To find the answers to their questions, the wise men were directed to the inspired word of God which had predicted that the Christ would be born in Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2; cf. Jn. 7:42). When the wise men learned that the Christ was born in Bethlehem, they traveled from Jerusalem to Bethlehem where they offered their worship to him and gave him their rich gifts.

In contrast to the wise men from the Gentiles who came to worship the Messiah, Herod wanted to put him to death. Consequently, he had the male infants from Bethlehem who were under two years old put to death. Joseph was warned by God of Herod's efforts to kill Jesus so they might escape to Egypt.

Wise Men Still Worship the Lord

I am impressed that the wise men traveled hundreds of miles to worship the Lord. Living in an age of secularism, we might be deluded into thinking that the intelligentsia has outgrown the need of God. Communism's founders taught that religion is the "opiate of the people," and instructed their children in atheism. Those who control our media (especially television) portray religion in such an unfavorable light that one might be convinced that only religious fanatics worship the Lord.

We need to be reminded that wise men worship the Lord. In an old bulletin which I had filed away, I recently found the following collection of statements from leaders who complimented the Bible. The documentation for these statements was not provided in the bulletin. These statements bear repeating to remind us that wise men still worship the Lord.

George Washington: It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible. . . He is worse than an infidel who does not read his Bible and acknowledge his obligation to God.

John Adams: The Bible is the best Book in the world.

Thomas Jefferson: I have always said and always will say that the studious perusal of the Sacred Volume will make better citizens, better fathers, better husbands... The Bible makes the best people in the world.

John Quincy Adams: My custom is to read four or five chapters of the Bible every morning immediately after rising... It seems to me the most suitable manner of beginning the day. . . It is an invaluable and inexhaustible mine of knowledge and virtue.

Abraham Lincoln: I am profitably engaged in reading the Bible. Take all of this Book upon reason that you can, and the balance by faith, and you will live and die a better man.

Theodore Roosevelt: To every man who faces life and real desire to do his part in everything, I appeal for a study of the Bible.

Woodrow Wilson: I have a very simple thing to ask of you, I ask every man and woman in this audience that from this day on they will realize that part of the destiny of America lies in their daily perusal of this great Book.

Martin Luther: Holy Scripture is a sweet-scented herb, and the more you rub it, the more it emits its fragrance.

John Wesley: O give me that Book! At any price, give me that Book of God. Here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be a man of one Book.

Sir Isaac Newton: I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatever.

William Penn: The Scriptures contain a declaration of the mind and will of God. . .. They ought also to be read, believed, and fulfilled in our day. We accept them as the words of God.

William Wilberforce: Let no religious book take its place. People do not read the Bible enough.

Benjamin Franklin: Cultivate an acquaintance with and a firm belief in the Holy Scriptures. This is your certain interest.

Daniel Webster: From the time that, at my mother's feet or on my father's knee, I first learned to lisp the verses from the sacred writings, they have been my daily study and vigilant contemplation.

Let us avoid accepting the world's betrayal that only the ignorant and weak offer worship to God. Wise men still worship the Lord.

Jesus Is King

The wise men recognized that the "king of the Jews" had been born. That Jesus is king is taught throughout Scripture. He spoke of his kindgom as a spiritual kingdom (Jn. 18:36). He made the "new birth" a condition for entrance into the kingdom (Jn. 3:3-5). He gave the dispositions of heart necessary for membership into the kingdom in the Beatitudes (Matt. 5:1-12). When he was crucified, the inscription over him said he was king of the Jews (Matt. 27:37). The thief on the cross knew that he was coming in his kingdom (Lk. 23:42). Indeed, Jesus is "King of kings and Lord of lords" (1 Tim. 6:15).


As you willing to enthrone him as Lord over your life (Acts 2:36)? Are you as wise as the wise men who came to worship Jesus and give their gifts to him? The wise men of Matthew 2 did. Wise men still do.

Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 20, pp. 610, 631
October 15, 1992