Personal Development

3 Wise Men Names

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“4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:”  Matt 2:4,5

Balthasar of Arabia, Melchior of Persia, and Gaspar of India are names from Armenian tradition. They are not from the Bible. The Bible did not specify the number of Wise Men or Magi. However, there are 3 gifts, gold, myrrh and frankincense which could be the reason people believe there were 3 Wise men.

From the passage above you can tell exactly how these religious leaders and experts of the law showed their faith on their Messiah.  They knew the Savior they represent would be born in Bethlehem according to the Holy Scriptures.  But what did they do? Did they go to worship the Messiah?

The Wise Men

Here’s the story.   A delegation of Wise men from the East arrived at King Herod’s castle in Jerusalem.   Elegant looking, these Magi possesses extraordinary skills and knowledge in astrology, dream interpretation, sacred writings, magic, and religion.   King’s special advisers could be their official title like those wise men during Daniel’s time in the Old Testament.   Along with soldiers to protect them from bandits they had just trekked a thousand miles riding in camels, maybe horses.  Remember Nehemiah, the king’s cupbearer traveling with bodyguards- soldiers when he inspected Jerusalem’s wall? 

Maybe a little bit tired but the Magi unhesitatingly expressed their explicit purpose of visit, to worship the ne born King!!  I think  if you’re born as a king,  you should be living in a castle.   Logically the Wise men went directly to Herod’s palace being guided by a strange star – their modern day GPS or the Waze app.   Upon arrival at Herod’s palace, they asked “where is the new born king of the Jews?” When King Herod heard his job being threatened, he got distressed.  But I think he pretended to be cool.  Okay, the Bible says “…he was disturbed and all Jerusalem with him.”  Maybe King Herod’s poker face hid his temper in the presence of his guests.

Herod The Great

Let me explain. There are Six Herods in the New Testament.  Wait.  Thinking of a biblical name for your unborn child? Not Herod please.   Don’t pick Judas either.  King Herod the Great was not a Jew but from the lineage of Esau (Arabs) not Jacob (Israel).  He was a famous master builder.  He restored the Temple of Solomon and  built many theaters, cities, palaces and fortresses.   Herod ruthlessly killed those suspected threats to his throne. He murdered his own wife and  he killed also several sons. 

So yes, Herod played along with the Wise Men when he called the chief priests or the modern day pastors  asking them where the Messiah was to be born.   In unison the experts shouted “ In Bethlehem” plus they quoted the Bible reference text.   That’s a place about 5 miles South of Jerusalem.  Not too far,  compared to the thousand miles trip by the Magi coming from either Persia or Babylon, the modern day Iran or Iraq.

Worship and Gifts

Again what’s the sole purpose of their trip ?— v2 “to worship Him”.!!  Did those religious experts intend to visit their real King ? Nope.  Maybe they’re afraid of losing their high paying job.   Herod treacherously met with the Magi secretly to decipher how old Jesus would be by then.  Then he asked them to search the child, —“as soon you find him, report to me so so I can worship him too”.      The Wise men found the child Jesus on a house. No longer in a manger as depicted by many art works nowadays.  

“They went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was “. (v9)  When they came to the house and saw Mary with the child, they bowed down and worshipped him.  They opened their treasures and presented him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  Being warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. Herod was furious, he massacred the innocent children 2 years and under.

Religious Professionals

Let’s go back to those religious professionals who stayed at the comfort of their job or home.    They chose to worship King Herod, serving man instead of serving God.  To us Herod can represent the comfort and convenience of materialism.  When a Christian choose the god of mammon we become a disgrace to the God we represent.  Many religious leaders and pastors knows the Bible well, teaches well.   But sadly they did not walk  that humbling 5 miles trek to worship a suffering Messiah.  Or not walking the talk.      Knowledge of prophecy, revelation or tribulation, pre or post tribulation could be impressive but character and the fruit of the Spirit are the higher standards.

  I heard that being vulnerable is like unmasking our imposter self. In our relationships the testing comes when  people come into our sacred homes.  Maybe a good Herod could have prepared a banquet before he let go the Wise Men.  The gift of hospitality sometimes no longer happen in the ministry, especially when our leaders neglect to show hospitality to strangers.  (Heb 13:2).  Okay just playing safe.   Maybe we can start by inviting our church brethren into our homes.

On their visit to Jerusalem, the Wise Men sacrificed their time, talent and resources.   They made a huge effort traveling thousands of miles, several weeks on that dangerous, sandy stormy roads. Just for the  purpose of worshipping the King and Savior.  The Wise Men did not seem to be judgmental on how Mary, Joseph and the child Jesus look like as poor peasants.  They just believed in that star in the sky, their research and their skill set.  Nowadays we have the convenience of cars, air-conditioned church,  but how many miles or km will it take you to go to worship? What kind of effort, sacrifices or gifts you can offer to signify your love and worship?

The Challenge

Finally, consider Mary and Joseph- when God called them as instruments to give birth to the Messiah.   “Let it be to me according to your word “ Lk 1:30 They gave their all and trusted God for provision, the gifts of the Magi to name a few.   During the end term of Mary’s pregnancy,  they traveled from Galilee, a city of Nazareth to Bethlehem  240 miles most likely by walking.   Later on, when Jesus turned 2 years old, they traveled from Bethlehem to Egypt (350 miles). That is, to escape Herod’s massacre of the innocents.   Then when Herod died they went back to Nazareth coming from Egypt, that is about 400 miles.  (see Arthur Blessitt’s Miles Jesus and Mary walked, www.blessit.com).

 So imagine that even if they rode in a donkey or camel in that long dusty road. Still, our modern means of transportation today — the high tech cars, the superhighways are incomparable to their travelling experience.. This Christmas time we may spend more time in the mall or shopping online as the reason for this season.  You see, we will never run out of excuses of going to church, Bible Study or worshipping Him. Ministry is the overflow of our relationships with Him.

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