Wednesday, December 9
Read Matthew 2:3
Because three gifts were given, we have assumed there were three wise men. The book of tradition says there were three: Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. But, since the Bible does not confirm that, we can only conclude the number of the wise men did not matter.
It is also a common misconception the wise men visited Joseph and Mary and baby Jesus in the barn at Bethlehem, but not so. They followed the star they saw on the night of the Lord’s birth, and it eventually led them to Jerusalem. But with the speed of caravan travel in that day, it could have taken months, or even years to travel the 800 to 900 miles from Persia to Jerusalem. In Matthew 2:11, he said, “and when they were come into the house, they saw the young child, with Mary, his mother, and fell down and worshipped Him.”
Most likely the reason the wise men knew of this star was because of the teachings of the prophet Daniel. (Daniel 9:24-27) Even as a captive, God arranged for Daniel to serve as the chief of the court of “seers” in Persia. Daniel taught them about the prophetic timeline, including the expected time of the Messiah’s birth. Balaam also prophesied that a “star would rise out of Jacob.”
Notice the wise men called that miraculous star, “His star” – they believed God’s Word, they sought to find the Messiah, they pursued Him persistently; never giving up until they had found Him, and when they did, they worshipped Him by giving Him the most expensive gifts they could offer Him. Oh that we would be wise men today.
But not only were they wise in searching for Jesus, they were also wise to the plots of the antichrist. The heeded God’s warning against returning to tell Herod where they had found Jesus, and they went home by another route.
At one time, Persia, or modern-day Iran had the gospel. Even though Daniel was taken captive and was treated as a captive, God so arranged his duties as a servant that he would be able to influence others with the truth of God’s Word. As God did with Joseph in Egypt, He also did with Daniel in Babylon, and with Paul in Rome, and with other men of God who have been, and are being held captive.
Christian Pastor, Saeed Abedini was arrested and sent to the most horrible prison in Iran in 2012. He was charged with preaching the gospel, converting people to Christ, and helping the underground house-church network in Iran. Abedini was released from prison on 16 January 2016 along with other American prisoners. Saeed said the reason the Lord put him in prison was to reach Iranians with the Gospel. Every time Satan tries to silence one of God’s servants, He just opens the door for them to have a greater influence upon those who probably would have never heard the gospel.