Scene: Enter the Wise Men
Matthew 2:1-12New King James Version (NKJV)
Wise Men from the East
2 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:
6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”[a]
7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”
9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.
We’ve all seen the plays of little children wearing sheets and all gathering around Mary and Joseph with a baby doll in a manger bed. The shepherds are gathered with their animals and the three wise men with gifts of Frankincense, Gold, and Myrrh. They portray that the wise men showed up the night the savior was born but that is not the case. It was some time, we do not know exactly how long, but it was definitely at least a month to three years after the birth. They came as a representation that Jesus would one day save the whole world. Not just the Jewish people. I love how Mrs. Higgs talks about their gifts….
“Their presents were well chosen: gold for a king, incense for a priest, and myrrh for a burial, pointing to the sacrifice to come.”
Their arrival was prophetic of what this little boy would grow up to do.
Luke 2:21-35 New King James Version (NKJV)
Circumcision of Jesus
21 And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child,[a] His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.
Jesus Presented in the Temple
22 Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”),[b] 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”[c]
Simeon Sees God’s Salvation
25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
29 “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”
33 And Joseph and His mother[d] marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
Here we see that like any other normal Jewish family Jesus and his parents went through all of the normal rituals that was expected after his birth. On the eighth day Jesus was circumcised and named. And then about a month later they went to the temple to present the sacrifice of cleansing that Mary needed to do to declare that she was clean and presented Jesus in the temple.
It was during this time that Simeon saw Him and prophesied or sang over Him. These words were definitely given him by the Holy Spirit. Who else would have known this normal looking man and woman were indeed raising the very child that would one day grow up to save the entire world. It was definitely a God moment.
I like how Liz writes it in the book.
When the Holy Spirit reveals, there is no mistaking the Source and no second-guessing the message. It rings like a bell in our hearts: a single, clear note. Yes.
Can you imagine the pondering and wondering that went on in both Mary and Joseph’s hearts and minds as they traveled home from the temple that day? I can imagine that they probably wondered what it all meant.