Wise Men and
The Star of Bethlehem
Matthew 2:1-2 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea 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.

The Gospel of Matthew gives to us the account of the wise men, who were
seeking the Messiah. They followed a special star to the land where Messiah
was born.

The Bible does not state that theses wise men were "kings". The Bible says
that they were "WISE MEN" and does not specify "three". (Tradition says
"three" but this is not according to the Bible. The Gospel of Matthew does
not give us a specific number.) There could have been a hundred men or

The phrase "wise men," in Matthew 2:1,7, is Magi or "Magoi" in the Greek
and applies to members of a special group of men--  could be scientists,
philosophers and/or advisors to kings.

Many bible scholars have speculated that the Magi may have been influenced
by the teachings of Daniel, the prophet. From Daniel's prophecy, they would
have known the time period in which Messiah would come. (see Daniel,
chapter 9) We don't really know for certain but this seems very possible.


We do know that the Magi were wise. One could say, men full of wisdom
and knowledge. Certainly the knowledge concerning the star and its
significance was given to them by God. They knew that to follow the star
meant that they would see the Messiah. They were VERY certain about
the star for they said, "we have seen
his star".  They knew this particular
star pointed to the newborn King of the Jews... It was
HIS star.

Now, how do men get wisdom? By fearing the Lord!

Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good
understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise
endureth for ever.

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge:
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 2:6 For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh
knowledge and understanding.


Most likely the Magi were of the Jewish faith and worshipped the God of
Abraham because the first thing that they ask is,
"Where is he that is born
King of the Jews?"

Now, this gives us some indication that they were of the Jewish religion
for they wanted to worship the new born King of the Jews. They must have
believed the Hebrew Prophecies concerning Jewish Messiah and journeyed a
long distance to pay homage to Jesus.

No one knows for sure the ethnicity of the Magi. Many have suggested that
the "wise men" were from Babylon, which is east of Israel. We cannot be
sure of this. They could have come from even farther east. There is no way
of knowing their origin for certain. We know that in Esther 8:17 the Bible
says of those in Babylon,
"many of the people of the land became Jews".

What we do know (just by reading the Scriptures) that they were not your
run of the mill ordinary men. They were important men on a journey of a
lifetime. They were seeking THE King of the Jews. They did not journey to
see Herod. They were seeking a King whose Kingdom shall never end.

Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no
end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and
to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for
ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

The wise men possessed some kind of knowledge that the Star they saw in
the East, signified the birth of the King of the Jews. Most likely the prophecy
of Balaam: Num 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...


The Magi did not want to sit and fellowship in the presence of Herod.
They wanted to see Jesus. Their words troubled Herod, the king, and
of Jerusalem. The Magi were not impressed to see Herod's palace. They
cared not to make friends with dignitaries. They came a great distance to
see the Lord and to WORSHIP Him.

Matthew 2:3  
When Herod the king had heard these things, he was
troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

For the Magi to be granted an audience with King Herod shows that their
appearance was not ordinary.  Their presence had the entire city talking.
Their appearance was on a large grand scale. They must have had a large
group accompanying them...probably a military escort as well.  Three
ordinary guys on camels in the city could not scare a child, yet alone Herod.
So their entrance into the city was a sight to behold...so much so to cause
fear round about the city.

One must remember that years ago, people did not travel alone through the
wilderness. Travel was never easy. There were no motels in the wilderness.
There were no fast food restaurants. To journey to another land was difficult
to do. People traveled in large groups for reasons that there were always
bandits waiting for travelers to pass by. Unprotected and alone, a traveler did
not have a chance. So one did not travel without being in a large group. One
certainly would not travel with gold, frankincense, and myrrh without an
entourage of people. These were precious and expensive things.

We know that they were fairly wealthy because of the distance traveled (it
took money to travel) and the expensive gifts that they brought.


Matthew 2:4  And when he [Herod] had gathered all the chief priests and
scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where
Christ should be born.

Notice that Herod knew that the Magi were talking about Christ. Not just any
king of the Jews but Christ Himself.  He gathered up those who knew the
Scriptures. Herod wanted to know where Christ would be born.

Matthew 2:5  
And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus
it is written by the prophet,
Matthew  2:6  And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least
among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that
shall rule my people Israel.

Here is bible prophecy fulfilled. Jesus, the Messiah-- the Christ, was born
in Bethlehem. Micah 5:2  
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be
little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth
unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from
of old, from everlasting.

Notice that the Bible says, "whose goings forth have been from of old, from
everlasting." Here we see the Deity of Christ. Jesus said, "Before Abraham
was, I AM." God's Word is true. Jesus is God. Jesus had a beginning as a
man (born of a virgin) but He
NEVER had a beginning as God. He is Alpha
and Omega, the Beginning and the End.

Matthew 2:7  
Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men,
enquired of them
diligently what time the star appeared.

Notice that Herod secretly called the wise men and diligently asked them
when the star first appeared. Herod was taking no chances. He wanted an
exact time frame. Already his evil heart was getting a plan together in
attempts to kill the Messiah.

Matthew 2:8  
And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search
diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me
word again, that I may come and worship him also.

Notice that Herod sent them to Bethlehem. He did not send them to
Caesarea but he sent them to the place where the Scriptures foretold of
Messiah's birthplace. He told them search diligently...leave no place unturned.
 Notice that Herod called Jesus a "young child" and not a baby. Jesus was
under two years of age at the time. He was not an infant when the Magi
came, as many nativity pictures tend to portray.

Notice that Herod also lied to the Magi,
"that I may come and worship him
Herod believed Scripture to a certain extent...we know this by his
preventative actions in killing all of the children two years and under in
Bethlehem. Herod is a prime example of one who believes ...the devils also
believe and tremble...but yet he did not want God. He did not want the
Messiah to take over. He wanted to kill the Lord Jesus. Many of the leaders
in our world today would do the same. Jesus was a threat to Herod's position
and privilege.

It is interesting that when Messiah was born into this world, the world did
not welcome Him. Even the inn keeper had no room. The news of the Lord's
birth was not heralded in the streets of Bethlehem. The angels did not
proclaim the Lord's birth to the scribes and religious leaders. The angels
proclaimed the Good News to the shepherds, who were tending to their
flocks at night. Jesus, the Lamb of God, was born in a stable. Jesus, the
Good Shepherd, was greeted by the village shepherds who ran to see Him.
What a picture. The King of the Universe was not greeted by the rich people
nor the religious people of the day. He was the Word wrapped in human flesh
and was greeted by lowly shepherds, who were awaiting their Messiah.

34:18  The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart;
and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

Getting back to the Magi...

Matthew 2:9  
When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the
star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood
over where the young child was.
Matthew 2:10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding
great joy.

Many scholars have suggested that the star disappeared out of their sight
for a little while-- that is why the Magi ended up in Jerusalem. From the
Scriptures, this seems correct. So when they lost the star, they journeyed
to Jerusalem because that is where Messiah should reign. That is where the
current king was residing. The Magi assumed the people of the day would
KNOW where Messiah was. They must have been a bit confused to find
that no one knew of this new born King of the Jews. They journeyed all
that way and no one could help them. Help came from an unlikely source...
Herod told them to look in Bethlehem.

Now, notice that when they departed from Herod's palace, THEN the star
appeared again and they rejoiced exceedingly. The reappearance of the
star confirmed their faith. They journeyed to Bethlehem...

The star appeared and stood over the house where Jesus was.


Matthew 2:11  And when they were come into the house, they saw the
young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him:
and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him
gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Notice that when the wise men came into the house, they fell down and
worshipped Jesus. They did not worship Mary or Joseph. They worshipped
the Lord. All praise and honor and glory and blessings are
due to God.
Sadly, many professing Christians (Catholics) worldwide bow before statues
Mary ((she also sinned as all of us have...Romans 3:23) . They worship
idols of stone-- which the bible forbids in the Second Commandment.
Exodus 20:4-5  
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any
likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth
beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
Thou shalt not bow
down thyself to them, nor serve them
: for I the LORD thy God am a
jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto
the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

So the Magi worshipped Jesus who is worthy of all honor and praise. Jesus
was God as a baby (Luke 1:35, John 1:14) and He is God today. Those
within the Word of Faith movement make the heretical statements that,
"Jesus became God at the age of thirty"... Such teaching is blasphemy in light
of God's Holy Word. The Bible tells us in John 1:14  
And the Word was
made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as
of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Isaiah  9:6:  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the
government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called
Wonderful, Counsellor,
The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The
Prince of Peace.

1John 4:9-10  In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because
that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live
through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved
us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

The Magi came a great distance searching for their Messiah. They brought
expensive gifts worthy of the King. They found the King of all ages in a
house-- not a palace. No crown upon His head. No royal garments upon His
body. They opened their treasures and presented Jesus with the very best
that they could bring. Gold, frankincense and myrrh were traditional gifts
given to royalty in the Middle East.

Frankincense and myrrh were fragrant gum resins that were extracted from
trees in South Arabia and Ethiopia. They were used to make fine perfumes
and anointing oils. In Jesus' day Myrrh was so extremely valuable. The
cost of Myrrh in Jesus' day would equal around $4,000 per pound in today's


Gold is a gift for a king. It represents power and wealth. Yet Jesus would live
a very humble life and would die the most excruciating death. He is the
King, who was born in a stable and laid in a manger. It is interesting that the
wise men asked, "Where is he that is born King of the Jews?" and at Jesus'
death above His righteous head was the inscription that Pilate, a Gentile--
Roman governor had inscribed in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew,

That was His crime, according to the religious leaders of His day. The crime
of being King of the Jews. Pilate found no fault in Jesus.

Many scholars have said that Gold was for a king, frankincense for a priest,
myrrh for one who is to die! These gifts give us true insight: Jesus was to be
the true King, the perfect High Priest, and in the end, the Supreme Saviour.

The religious leaders at His birth did not recognize His coming. The majority
of religious leaders of His adult years did not recognize Him for who He was.
They crucified Him and even after hearing from their own guards that Jesus
arose from the dead, they paid the soldiers money to keep quiet. They did
not care for the things of God.   Herod cared nothing for the things of God.

Yet the lowly shepherds worshipped Him. The fisherman followed Him. The  
outcasts felt His love and compassion. The sick were healed by Him. The
demon possessed were set free. The blind were given their sight. The dead
were raised back to life.

The wise men presented their gifts to Him out of their treasures. Gifts for the
King of Kings. The Magi did not reside in Israel but yet they sought Israel's
Messiah and sought after Him diligently. Yet those living closest to Him did
not recognize Him. Wise men today still seek Him and do find Him. Jesus is
not found in the palace of princes but rather will be found by those with a
humble heart.

Psalm 105:3  
Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice
that seek the LORD.

The wise men found Jesus living in a house. Jesus never wore a crown of
gold upon His head as fit for a King. He wore a crown of thorns-- He wore it
for you and for me. He never rode a white horse decorated in gold but
instead rode a humble young donkey, that never a man rode. He rode the
donkey into a city that He knew would crucify Him a few days later. It was
prophesied in the Scriptures (Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, etc.) that Messiah would
be crucified for our sins.

Here is the beauty of His life:

2Cor 8:9  
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though
he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his
poverty might be rich.

Phil 2:6-11  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to
be equal with God:  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon
him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And
being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became
obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also
hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every
name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in
heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every
tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the

The Magi must have left the city that night not truly understanding it all. The
King they sought for was not found in Herod's palace. The star did not shine
above Herod's dwelling. The star shown down in the humble town of
Bethlehem upon a house where a small child resided with His humble parents.
Mat 2:12  
And being warned of God in a dream that they should not
return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

That night the Magi fell asleep and God warned them in a dream not to return
to Herod. They obeyed God's command and went into their own country
another way. One can only imagine their conversations as they journeyed
home. They saw the One they were searching for. They saw Him face to
face and they found Jesus, the King of the Jews, in a very unlikely place...a
humble place for the KING OF ALL KINGS. The plan of God was for Jesus
to die for the sins of the world. The Lamb of God was born in a humble
stable. He was found living in a humble house. His Kingdom is not of this
present world.

The Lord Jesus said in John 18:36,
"My kingdom is not of this world..."

There are so many lessons to learn from the account in Matthew, chapter 2.
The Lord was not found dwelling among the proud but the humble. Jesus left
the splendor of Heaven to become a humble Servant, obedient unto death to
redeem fallen man. He went to the Cross to die for your sins and mine. He
arose from the dead-- victorious over death.

Though Jesus came to earth as a humble servant at His first advent, He is
coming as the conquering King in His Second Advent. He will come with
many crowns upon His head, riding a white horse and will rescue Israel
(Matthew 23:39) from destruction. Jesus will destroy the nations that will
come against her. He will destroy the antichrist and the armies of the world.
Jesus will come as KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS. He will take
His rightful Throne in Jerusalem and there He will reign over His people and
will be their God.

Those in Christ will live forever with Him. He promised eternal life to those
who receive Him as their Savior. Is there room in your heart today for the
Savior? Are you seeking the Messiah?  Are you seeking Him diligently as the
wise men did? Jesus can be found within the pages of the Bible-- Old and
New Testaments. As you humble yourself and seek His face, you will find

Amos 5:8 Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth
the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with
night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon
the face of the earth: The LORD is his name:

Psalm 145:18 The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all
that call upon him in truth.

Isaiah 55:6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him
while he is near:

Rev 3:20  Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my
voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him,
and he with me.

Copyright © 2005 Cobblestone Road Ministries
All Rights Reserved

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