The Birth of Christ in Matthew 1: Wise Men Still Seek Him
By Nathan Jones
First Coming of Christ
Wise Men Still Seek Him
Vic Batista: Christmas is so precious, for a new baby is a beautiful reminder of God’s love. People today can know God’s love and hope by receiving that free Christmas gift of Christ as Savior.
Nathan Jones: Accepting Jesus as one’s Savior can be the easiest gift in the world to accept, but it can also be the hardest to accept as well. It’s hard because you have to surrender your life. You have to give up control, even though control over our lives is in truth just an illusion. We think we control our lives, but there are many circumstances that really control our direction instead.
We accept Christ’s saving work on the cross by surrendering our life and putting our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior. Trust that He is the Son of God. Pray from your heart something like, “Dear, Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and be my Lord and Savior.” Jesus promises that He will do just that — He will forgive you of your sins, He will cleanse you of your guilt, and He will give you a future with Him forever in Heaven.
Jesus accomplished all of that by becoming a man. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, knew what it was like to be a baby, and felt the challenges of growing up. He then suffered torture and died on the cross, but was raised back from the dead in order to defeat death so that we too can overcome death and live eternally with our Heavenly Father.
Vic Batista: The only hope for mankind is Jesus Christ. His miraculous birth attests to His divinity. Our hope is that all believers in Christ will go forth this Christmas and share with your family and friends this Good News.
I once preached a sermon titled, “Wise Men Still Seek Him.” The reason why I named it this was because I was passing by a large university in our area and in front of a house someone put a sign on the lawn that said, “Wise Men Still Seek Him.” I thought that was a wonderful truth for our time that there are people still seeking God. Wise people desire truth, and Jesus said they will know truth and it will set them free.
Nathan Jones: Think about the Wise Men who came seeking the baby Jesus. They traveled all the way from Persia, which today is Iran. For many months they traveled up the Fertile Crescent along the Euphrates River and then down into Syria and Israel. They followed a special star. Likely it took them four whole months to make the journey. The Magi went through all the difficulties and discomforts of a very long journey in order to seek the Son of God. They knew a special king was coming, and they wanted to be the first to give Him gifts and praise God for giving His Son, Jesus Christ. They were wise men and they were kings, but knew a far greater king had arrived.
This Christmas, reflect on those Wise Men. How wise we would be if we also sought out the Son of God? Marvel at the fact that so much prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus’ life. Just one of the Messianic prophecies was that Jesus would be born of a virgin. He would be called Emmanuel, meaning God is with us now. This miracle was prophesied some 700 years before Jesus was born. How wise are we then to seek out Jesus Christ, the King who came as a man to suffer and die on the cross for our sins so that we may be granted eternal life? What a sacrifice!
Vic Batista: Unfortunately, when I think of the Wise Men, because of Hollywood and Sunday School books, I get confused about the Nativity. I imagine just three guys peering down at a little baby in a manger.
Nathan Jones: The Magi were willing to give up their comfort and possibly even their esteemed positions by traveling painfully on camels through a desert of dangerous territories, and all to seek the Son of God. Those men were true believers. They may have been called Magi, which is the word from where we get our term magician, so these men were astrologers. They would be considered cultic idolaters as practitioners of the magical realm. But, they understood how the stars aligned, so they would also have been astronomers. They saw a star unlike any other which rested over the little town of Bethlehem. In light of this miracle, the Magi gave up their pagan beliefs and put their trust in God.
We, too, need to look at the evidence of Christ’s miraculous birth and become wise, giving up our own paganism and idolatry. Christmas reminds us that mankind is called to give up our focus on ourselves and instead turn towards the Son of God. The God of the Universe was willing to give up everything to become human and die for us, and we in turn should marvel at His sacrifice and respond in faith and repentance.
Vic Batista: An interesting point about these Wise Men is that some theologians believe they were influenced by the Prophet Daniel over 500 years earlier. They came from the same area of the world — Babylon — and Daniel was the wisest of their order. This prophet rose to overseeing all the magi. The Magi would have taken note of all Daniel prophesied about the coming and anticipated Messiah.
Nathan Jones: Daniel prophesied 500 years before the Wise Men took their journey to Bethlehem. And true, Daniel was the head of the magi in the Babylonian Empire and then later during the Persian Empire. So, the magi over the centuries would have continued to study Daniel’s records, and surely they even did 500 years later, so they knew about the prophecies of Daniel. The Magi knew about the coming King. They knew Bible prophecy, even if those men were pagans.
When talking about the Magi, we aren’t talking about Christians who grew up in Sunday School, and yet when confronted by the unique Star of Bethlehem and the fulfillment of the Virgin Birth, they turned and pursued God. How much more then as Christians growing up with Christmas to celebrate every year that we should turn to Jesus Christ? The Magi had the hope of a fulfilled prophecy, but we today have the assurance of prophecy fulfilled.
Vic Batista: That’s why we know that those who call Christ Savior are wise men who continually seek Him. Christians study the Bible and Bible prophecy. We believe that fulfilled Bible prophecy is so very important because there is so much we can gain when we understand the Scriptures.
Nathan Jones: That’s true! The Bible is endless in its wisdom. You could search it you whole life, but you can never know all there is to know about God. The Bible may be the complete revelation of God covering what He wants us to know about Him in this age, but God is infinite. I believe we will spend eternity getting to know our infinite king, Jesus Christ.
Vic Batista: How exciting then it is to read about the Virgin Birth of Jesus in Matthew 1. The book reveals Christ in prophecy. We see God’s prophecies being fulfilled in the birth of Jesus. God’s prophecies made in the Old Testament come true in the New Testament. Mary was a virgin who had a child, and His name would be Emmanuel, meaning “God with us.” With the birth of Jesus Christ, the living God came to live among men as a man.
Nathan Jones: While few really called Jesus Emmanuel as He grew up, His followers did recognize Him as the Son of God, and that also means “God with us.” Jesus is the great Emmanuel, for Jesus fulfilled God with us. Jesus performed miracles which proved His divinity. He raised people from the dead. He clearly is the Son of God.
Since Jesus is the Son of God, then it’s vitally important that like the Magi we listen to what He has to teach. Our lives depend on what He says. We should then obey His call to repent of our sins and put our faith and trust in Him.
Vic Batista: The Angel Gabriel in Matthew 1:21 stated that Jesus’ name accomplished a mission. “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” The people were waiting for the coming Messiah to rescue them from the clutches of Rome, but instead they got so much more — a Savior who would rescue them from the punishment of their sins in Hell.
Nathan Jones: And for that misunderstanding the people rejected Jesus. But, He will return just as He promised. Jesus will come back a second time, and then people from all across the world will finally accept Jesus as Savior.
Vic Batista: I believe that moment is coming soon. Therefore, we should encourage people to turn their eyes towards Jesus. He loves us and has a wonderful plan for us all. As we celebrate Christmas, we should not forget the birth of our Savior in the midst of our celebrations.
Have a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends from all of us at The Christ in Prophecy Journal!