Remember learning about the 12 Tribes of Israel? The Wise Men did not come from any of those 12 tribes. They came from the East. They were from another set of tribes in Babylon called the Medes. We initially see the Wise Men in the book of Daniel. They are referenced as Magicians, or Magi (Daniel 2). They Wise Men were often called upon by kings to interpret their dreams.
The Wise Men were affluent philosophers, known for their study of the stars.
Most of the tribes in Babylon were known for worshiping false Gods. The Magi, also part of a tribe that worshiped false God’s, became educated on who God was, and on the prophesies that Jesus was to be born. When a new star appeared in the sky, they knew what it was. They knew the prophesies involved a star symbolizing the delivery of the King of the Jews (Numbers 24:17).
When the Wise Men saw the star, they prepared for their journey. There were also prophesies that the King of the Jews would be born in Bethlehem. The Wise Men, Magi, lived in Babylon. Babylon was 800 miles away from Bethlehem.
From my house, It’s 665 miles away from Disney World- the best place ever. It’s 919 miles away from New York City- the second best place ever.
I took a look at Google Maps to see if it would help me get a better understanding of how far the Wise Men traveled to see Jesus. If I decided to walk from Huntsville, Al to Disney World in Orlando, Fl, it would take me 194 hours. It would take 304 hours to walk from Huntsville to New York City.
This was a long journey.
What if someone told you that you could have a free trip to Disney World, but you had to walk there? Would you go? I would definitely pass.
Before making a journey of 800 miles on foot, the Wise Men must have been certain of what they saw and what the star represented. They also had to have known why the birth of Jesus was so important. Otherwise, they would not have made the trip to see him. This was no “lets just swing by and see if they’re home” kinda trip. They saw this star appear in the sky, and they were committed to making the journey to Bethlehem to worship the new King.
The big question is, how did the Wise Men know that star represented Jesus? And why Jesus was so important?
We see the Wise Men referenced several times in scripture before the story of the birth of Jesus. They are usually referenced as the Magi. In Daniel 2, King Nebuchadnezzar needs someone to interpret his dreams. He calls the Magicians (Magi), the Chaldeans, the Sorcerers, and the Enchanters. No one can interpret his dreams. King Nebuchadnezzar finally calls in Daniel. Through the wisdom God gives him, Daniel is able to interpret the dreams.
Years later, King Nebuchadnezzar’s son needs someone to interpret his dreams. He takes the same first steps. He calls in the Magi, Chaldeans, Sorcerers, and the Enchanters. At that time, the queen came in and told this son not to be alarmed. She told him there was a man who had great wisdom and understanding like the gods. His name was Daniel. (Daniel 5). (If you recall the story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den, it’s the same Daniel).
King Nebuchadnezzar made Daniel “ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon” (Dan. 2:48).
Make sure you don’t miss this. Daniel, a man who God used to interpret the King’s dreams that the Magi couldn’t interpret, was put in charge over all of Babylon and the Magi. Daniel now had influence over them, and could use that influence to teach them about God.
When the star appeared in the sky, perhaps the reason the Wise Men knew of its meaning and significance was because of Daniel’s influence and teachings?
Are we using our teachings and influence we have to point those around us to Jesus?