Three Lessons from the Wise Men

This post is the third in a series of three discussing the account of the worship of the Christ-child by the Magi in Matthew 2:1-12. In the first post, I played mythbuster by exposing three common misconceptions about the wise men. In yesterday’s post, I considered the significance of the three presentations (gifts) made by the wise men. In this concluding post, I would like to draw three points of application.

The Necessity of Special Revelation / Scripture
General revelation could only take the Magi so far. They needed special revelation to actually find the child-king. General revelation is what is revealed to all men everywhere through creation and conscience. Special revelation is the more detailed revelation that is revealed at specific times to specific people. If creation is the primary type of general revelation, then Scripture is the primary type of special revelation. The Wise Men saw something in the stars which led them to search for the Christ, but they only found Him after hearing the words of the prophet Micah that He was to be born in Bethlehem. Similarly all attempts to find God apart from His revealed Word will end in disappointment. But all responses to what is revealed in General Revelation will be rewarded with Special Revelation.

The Folly of Knowledge without Action
We’re so used to this story that the most startling thing about it has lost its edge. Pagans are worshiping the long promised Messiah, instead of the Chief Priests and Scribes who knew of His coming. The religious leaders of the day knew the prophecies of the coming Messiah. They were even able to tell the Wise Men exactly where He was to be born. But there is no indication in Scripture that any of these religious leaders took the 5-6 mile journey from Jerusalem to Bethlehem to worship the newborn King. It’s important to know the Bible, but failure to act on that knowledge will result in condemnation. There are many who could explain the gospel story, but who have never personally placed their faith in Christ Jesus the Lord. What a tragedy!

The Priority of Worship
But the main application of this text is the priority of worship. Matthew shows us that the child whose birth was recorded in chapter 1 is worthy of worship as the King of the Cosmos. This must be our priority as we prepare to embark upon a new year. How should we then worship? Follow the model of the Magi by worshiping Christ as the ultimate King to whom every knee shall bow, the Great High Priest who has offered one sacrifice for sin forever, and the buried and risen Savior. He is worthy of our worship in 2011 and throughout all eternity! The scene of the wise men is a foreshadow of another scene that the apostle John was privileged to see and he recorded it in Revelation 5:11-14.

Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, [12] saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” [13] And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” [14] And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped. (ESV)

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