The Faith of the Wise Men
by Seattle ALC
The Faith of the Wise Men
When the wise men came to Jerusalem seeking Christ, they found a much different air in the city than they had expected. All was quiet. No festivities marked the birth of this king whose star they had seen in the east. It was their natural thinking that the King of Jews should be born in the capital city Jerusalem and lie in royal chambers. But they, strangers, apparently are the first to speak of him in his own country and city. They ask: “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.” (Matt. 2:2)
Herod, the King, greatly troubled at this word, called all the chief priests and scribes together and demanded of them where Christ should be born. They told him that it would be in Bethlehem of Judea for thus it was written by the prophet Micah, Chapter 5, Verse 2. Upon learning this, the wise men took their journey from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, and the star that they had seen in the east went before them till it came and stood over the place where the young child lay. When the wise men “saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy” (Matt 2:l0).
What enabled the wise men to continue their journey in search of the king? Surely not human reason. It was the light of reason that guided them to Jerusalem and caused them to lose the light of the star. It was faith in the Scriptures that enabled them to resume their journey in the right direction, and brought them to Bethlehem and to the newborn king.
” Reason and nature never proceed any further than they can see and feel. The light of nature and the light of grace cannot be friends. Nature wants to feel and be certain before she believes-grace believes before she perceives. For this reason nature does not go further than her own light. Grace joyfully steps out into the darkness, follows the mere word of Scripture, no matter how it appears. Whether nature holds it true or false, she clings to the word” (Quote from Luther, Lenker Edition, Volume 10, Page 362, Paragraph 96.)
The experience of the wise men teaches us to adhere to the Scriptures and not depend upon our own wisdom or the teachings of any man. The Scriptures have been given to us for a purpose. Christ is to be found in them, and no where else. The angel gave the shepherds a sign-not to find Joseph and Mary, but to find Christ Ye shall find the Babe “wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12). That is to say, in the writings of the law and the prophets. In these He is wrapped, for they contain Him, they speak of Him, and they bear witness of Him. They are his sure sign as he himself said “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39).
Faith brought the wise men to Jesus. Although they find the child in far less than royal circumstances, they do not feel that they have been led astray. But strong in living faith, having followed the word of the prophet and sign of the star, they bow down before Him, worship Him and offer their gifts. Faith has taught them to cast aside that which impresses human nature as being the criteria, and to cling to the Word in spite of the surrounding circumstances that would have been offensive to human reason.
The lesson of the wise men is the lesson of faith. Let us today remember that we have also this sure word of prophecy whereunto we do well that we take heed as unto a light that shines in dark place until the day dawn and the day star arise in our hearts: (II Peter 1:19).
Pastor A. Holmgren
From the archives of the late Pastor Alvin Holmgren January 2006
Submitted by Pastor Stan