12 December 20, 2015, Matthew 2;1-12, The King Worshiped, The Visit of the Magi
The King Worshiped
“The Magi Visit With Gifts”
December 20, 2015
First Baptist Church
What’s the number one thing?
The Glory of God!
1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV
31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of
December Memory Verse
14 "Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"
Please Pray For: The Pastor Search Committee
Ross Aven Rodney DePriest
Laurel Ditto Susan Lindsay
Chris Maddux Joe Young
Paul Moak, Jr. (Chairman)
• Christmas Eve Service – 5:00 PM
• No Sunday School Next Sunday – Dec 27
• Worship Service at 10:30 AM – Dec 27
• Regular Schedule on January 3, 2016
• Dr. Chuck Missler, YouTube Video, Daniel Chapter 6, Session 7.
• The MacArthur Study Bible, NKJV, Nelson Bibles, 1997, Word Publishing.
• The NIV Study Bible, 1985, Zondervan Bible Publishers.
• Are you good at selecting gifts?
• How did the Magi, who were Gentiles, know what gifts to bring Jesus, who
was born King of the Jews?
– Dream from God?
– Good guess?
– Lessons from Jews during Babylonia captivity?
• Who said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive?”
Acts 20:35b NKJV
35b And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more
blessed to give than to receive.'"
• This is the only direct quote from Jesus’ earthly ministry recorded outside
the canonical Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John).
Introduction to Matthew 2
• Matthew was a tax collector turned apostle.
• Matthew directed his writing to the Jews.
• His goal in writing was to prove that Jesus is the Messiah.
• Matthew 1 provides the genealogy of Jesus and begins explaining how
Jesus was the fulfillment of OT prophecy.
• Matthew is the only Gospel to record the visit of the Magi.
Introduction to Matthew 2
• There is a lot of historical background that Matthew assumes the reader
• Political climate of Roman occupation.
• History of relationship of Parthians and Romans.
• Historical events verified by Herodotus and Josephus.
The Visit & Gifts of the Magi
• A trip that was planned 600 years earlier.
• The Christmas Story in Daniel 5-10 (Dr. Chuck Missler).
• The Bible does not give us many confirming details about the Magi and
• Their visit resulted in the first martyrs for Jesus being innocent babies.
Matthew 2:1-2 NKJV
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king,
behold, wise men (Magi) 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."
…Bethlehem of Judea
• Judea was a buffer zone between the Roman Empire and the Parthian
• Roman Empire – Europe, Asia Minor, Egypt, Syria and Judea.
– Judea had been under Parthian rule earlier.
– Under nominal Roman rule at time of Jesus’ birth.
• Parthian Empire – Ancient empire of Asia (Babylon) west of Roman Empire.
– Split off from Greece after Alexander the Great.
– Now Afghanistan and Iran.
Conflict between Romans and Parthians
• During 1st Century BC Parthia grew into an empire extending from
Euphrates River to the Indus River and from Oxus River to Indian Ocean.
• Middle of 1st Century BC, Parthia was a rival of Rome and several wars
occurred between the two super powers.
• Judea was right between the Romans and Parthians and had been under
control of both super powers.
Parthians Advance West
Parthian Empire 1 AD
…in the days of Herod the king,
• Herod given title of “King of the Jews” by Augustus Caesar in 37 BC and
rule of Judea after Romans defeated the Parthians.
• Magi looking for He who is “born King of the Jews”.
• Jews were more comfortable with Parthians than Romans.
– Relationship from captivity 600 years earlier.
– Many Jews had remained in Babylon area.
• Herod always suspicious that Jews would revolt and align with Parthians.
…wise men from the East
• Wise men (NKJV) or Magi (NIV) … Greek is magos.
• Oneiromancy – dream interpretation was key skill, not astrology.
• Magi were a hereditary Persian Priesthood.
– Dual roles of priest and government officials.
– Priests for Magi religion established by Darius (Daniel 6).
– Duty to select the kings for Persian (Parthian) Empire (potential enemy
– Debate about this becoming Zoroatrianism.
…wise men from the East
Go Back 600 years to Daniel
• Daniel, a Jewish prisoner, is in captivity in Babylon under King
• Interprets dreams for the King.
• Daniel had been appointed chief over all Magi (the Rab-Mag) by King
Nebuchadnezzar and King Darius.
• In 539 BC King Belshazzar sees a hand writing on the wall during a drunken
banquet but cannot understand the writing.
Daniel 5:11 NKJV
11 There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in
the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of
the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father—your father
the king—made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and
Daniel 6:1-3 NIV
1 It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, 2 with
three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were
made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. 3 Now Daniel so
distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his
exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.
…wise men (Magi) from the East
• The Medo-Persian Magi had been trained by Daniel about Jewish
prophecies and signs of a coming Messiah.
• This training was passed down through the next 6 centuries to a select
group of the Magi.
• Chapters 9-10 of Daniel contains prophecies of dates that were fulfilled by
• How else would the Magi know so many details of a Jewish Messiah?
…saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?”
• A calculated insult to Herod who had bribed his way to the title, “King of
• Herod was not Jewish (Idumean – Descendent of Esau).
• “Born” King vs. Appointed King.
• The Magi had the power to anoint a governing King if Judea was under
• Did Herod suspect an upcoming conspiracy?
Matthew 2:2 NKJV
2 “For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
• Why did the star not guide them directly to Bethlehem?
– “Star of Bethlehem” was not a natural phenomenon (settled over a
– Not a conjugation of Jupiter and Saturn.
– Probably like the Shekinah that guided the Israelites (pillar of cloud or
pillar of fire).
“…have come to worship Him.”
• Why would a select group of Medo-Persian Magi come to worship a
– The Magi were NOT Jewish!
– Worship a foreign king in enemy territory?
– Symbolic that the whole world will bow down someday to worship
• Isaiah 45:23b – Before me every knee will bow; …
– Kneeling is symbolic of reverence, submission.
– Kneeling renders one defenseless.
– A position for worshipping.
All will worship Him … Someday!
• Philippians 2:9-11 NKJV
9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name
which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee
should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under
the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Matthew 2:3 NKJV
3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
• A group of rival “King Makers” enter Jerusalem.
• Traveled with own protection and force.
• Unimaginable oriental pomp and pageantry.
• Persians were intimidating group.
• Herod and Jews were nervous.
Matthew 2:4 NKJV
4 And when he (Herod) had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the
people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
• Herod calls for Jewish leaders to answer.
• Answer was written in scripture and Jewish priests knew the answer to the
Matthew 2:5-6 NKJV
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. '
• Quote Micah 5:2.
• Priests knew the location, but did not accompany Magi to Bethlehem.
Matthew 2:7-8 NKJV
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."
• Timing of the star?
• The Magi may have been taught by Daniel about the dates.
• How did Magi know when the star appeared, they were to go, take gifts
Matthew 2:9 NKJV
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
• Star guided them from Jerusalem to Bethlehem.
• Star “stood” over house.
Matthew 2:10-11 NKJV
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.
• Living in a house now.
• Jesus’ age (maybe a 2-year-old).
• 3 gifts implied 3 wise men, thus “We 3 Kings of orient are…”
The gifts of gold, frankincense & myrrh
• Gold – represents Deity (King).
– Symbol of kingship on earth & heaven.
• Frankincense – represents Priesthood.
– Incense burned in Temple.
– Imported to Israel from East.
• Myrrh – represents Death.
– Used for embalming or death anointing.
– More valuable than gold at this time.
How did the Magi know what gifts to bring?
• Daniel’s instructions while in Babylon and head of Magi?
– Daniel had a visit from angel in Daniel 10 with prophecy.
• Use of the gifts?
– Money for travel to Egypt?
– Used later to fund ministry and myrrh for Jesus’ burial?
Matthew 2:12 NKJV
12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod,
they departed for their own country another way.
• God communicates to Magi through a dream.
• They were experts in dream interpretation.
OT Reference to Magi as Kings
10 The kings of Tarshish and of the isles will bring presents; The kings of Sheba and
Seba will offer gifts. 11 Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him; All nations shall
3 The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.
• Eastern tradition (Church) – 12 Magi.
• Western tradition 3 Magi (# of gifts).
– Dec 25 – Jan 6: Epiphany (12 days of Christmas).
• 6th Century – Names given for 3.
– Balthasar, Melchoir, Gasper.
• 7th Century – Named for sons of Noah.
– Shem(Asia), Ham(Persia), Japeth(Europe).
• 14th Century – Armenian tradition.
– Kings of Arabia, Persia, India.
Lessons from the Magi’s Visit
1. God connects the dots of history so that every prophecy about Jesus was
• Roman control of Judea.
• Magi visit and gifts.
2. God does the same for our lives in connecting the dots so that all things
work together for good
• Romans 8:28
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love
God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Source of Gifts in the Bible
James 1:17 NKJV
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from
the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
• All of our blessing (gifts) come from God.
God’s Greatest Gift to Us – Jesus
John 3:16 NKJV
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever
believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Ephesians 2:8-10 NKJV
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it
is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His
workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared
beforehand that we should walk in them.
Jesus’ Gift to Us – Himself & Peace
John 14:27 NKJV
27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I
give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Romans 5:1-2 NKJV
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our
Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in
which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Happy Birthday to the
“Prince of Peace”
The Plan of Hope & Salvation
John 3:16 NKJV
16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever
believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
John 14:6 NKJV
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the
Father except through Me.”
Romans 3:23 NKJV
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 6:23a NKJV
23a For the wages of sin is death,
Death in this life (the first death) is 100%.
Even Jesus, the one who doesn’t deserve death, died in this life to pay the
penalty for our sins.
The death referred to in Romans 6:23a is the second death explained in
Revelation 21:8 NKJV
8 “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral,
sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with
fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
Romans 5:8 NKJV
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us.
Romans 6:23b NKJV
23b but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Revelation 21:7 NKJV
7 “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be
Romans 10:9-10 explains to us how to be an overcomer.
Romans 10:9-10 NKJV
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that
God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one
believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto
Romans 10:13 NKJV
13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
If you have questions or would like to know more, please, contact First Baptist
Church Jackson at 601-949-1900 or http://firstbaptistjackson.org/contact/