One man's view of theology, sports, politics, and whatever else in life that happens to interest me. A little bit about me.

Friday, December 5, 2014

TOMS: Matthew 2

For an introduction to this series, click here.

Dec. 5, 2006

Chapter 2 tells us the story of the "wise men." Now you can say what you want about them, but the fact remains that they were Eastern mystics, people the Jews would likely classify as wizards or sorcerers. In fact, the same Greek word, magos (the plural is magi), is used to describe the greedy Simon the Sorcerer in Acts 8 and two other magicians, Bar-Jesus and Elymas, who confronted Paul and Barnabas in Acts 13. You don't have to be an etymological expert to understand that magos is the Greek root for our English word magic.

Let's also discuss the idea of the number of wise men there were. Just because there were three gifts does not mean there were three men. If three weird foreigners came into town looking for a king, nobody would have given them a second thought. They would have been viewed as old crackpots. But Matthew clearly states that all Jerusalem was in an uproar over the arrival of these wizards (let's call them what they were.) Then just consider the practicality of traveling across the desert like they must have. They would have needed an entire caravan just to travel that far. Not only do you need supplies, but the desert was full of highwaymen. People traveled in large caravans in part for protection from robbers. So there were certainly more than three men. There were probably dozens, if not hundreds of them. They may not have all had the same rank, but they would have been in the traveling party.

They all believed they saw something special, and they were willing to travel a thousand miles or better. Were they believers in Jehovah God? You bet. Even if they didn't believe when they set out, they gave their word to the king that they would come back to him. These men would not have taken such a promise to the king of a foreign country lightly. But they went the other way when the angel told them to, which is a fine example of faith acting on the command of God. I'm looking forward to seeing them in heaven.

This all makes the Christmas story even better when you think about it. When the greatest Man in human history was born, God did not call a press conference. He didn't even bother to tell the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. He told a group of freakish wizards a thousand miles away, and He told a group of illiterate shepherds right outside of town. God does not do things the way we would do them. He chooses to reveal Himself to whoever He wants to, often to the strange and unpleasant among us. Practically everything God ever did in the Bible would fly in the face of what human reasoning would recommend. In His life, the Lord Jesus did many strange things, which hopefully we will discuss in the coming weeks.

I hope you don't find all this blasphemous. I certainly don't want to be flippant or irreverent in handling the Word of God. I haven't quoted a lot of Scripture in the past couple of posts, primarily because I think most of the people reading this are terribly familiar with the story. I always like to try to find a different perspective every time I look at anything, whether it's a person, book, movie or whatever else. I don't like to get caught in a rut, and if maybe I can help you look at things differently, then this time won't be wasted. God bless you all.

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