Palms Baptist Church
Three Great Decisions for a New Year
January 3, 2021

Three Great Decisions for a New Year

January 3, 2021

Decision #1: I will Pursue Him.

Decision #2: I will Worship Him.

Decision #3: I will Trust Him

Who are the Magi? (Matthew 2:1-7)

  • There’s a lot of myths about the Magi.

In the middle ages, they were given the names Casper, Balthazar, Melchior.

They are said to come from the three sons of Noah

A 12th Century Arch Bishop of Cologne claimed to have their skulls.

  • The Magi first appear in history 700 years before birth of Jesus. They were a tribe within larger people called Medes. They served as priests for the Medes, with knowledge from science, agriculture, mathematics and law. They practiced magic with rituals that involved a lot of fire. They were monotheist.
  • In Babylon they became advisors to King Nebuchadnezzar. When they were unable to interpret the kings dream, they were rescued by the prophet Daniel. He was then appointed ruler over the Magi. (See Daniel 2:48)
  • During the rule of the Persians, they were known as kingmakers. Part of the coronation of a new king in Persia was to be approved, anointed and crowned by the Magi. (Much the way David was by Samuel.) The Persians sometimes sent the Magi into a country they planned to invade to crown the next king ahead of time.
  • Herod’s reception to the arrival of the Magi was one of complete fear. These Magi came, probably in a huge force riding on horses (not camels) with ornately decorated clothing asking where the new king was. He was afraid an invasion force was on the way.
  • A fulfillment of Isaiah 60:3 and Isaiah 60:6

The Star:

  • Was prophesied in the Old Testament in Numbers 24:17.
  • How did the Magi know to look for a Messiah and follow a star? They had been trained generations earlier to expect a Messiah by the prophet Daniel.
  • What was the star? A planet? An erratic comet? I think it was the glory of the Lord.
  • Jesus called himself the Bright and Morning Star in Revelation 22:16.

Their response:

  • These gentiles were some of the first people to worship Jesus on earth.

Their worship was:

1. (Matthew 2:10) (Matthew 2:11)

2.

3. (Matthew 2:11) They opened “treasures.” Not three little boxes.

  • Gold represented kingship.
  • Frankincense was Holy Oil. It would have reminded a Jew of a visit to the Jewish temple. It means “whiteness” and was used by priests.
  • Myrrh was anointing oil. It was often used embalm dead. When David was anointed by Samuel, he probably used Myrrh. At the cross they offered him wine mixed with myrrh. (Mark 15:22) This makes the gift prophetic of his coming death on the cross. The magi did not just come following prophecy, they came to Jesus giving a prophecy.

 

This account encourages me (Matthew 2:13-15)

  • Matthew 2:13: Joseph and Mary flee, becoming fugitives.
  • Matthew 2:15: They leave by night so they are not noticed.
  • They probably traveled 175 miles to Alexandria. It was a colony established by Alexander the Great for Jews. The Jewish philosopher Philo had been a resident, and the Septuagint (the Greek Old Testament) was translated there. Coptic Christians have many legends and oral traditions about the flight to Egypt.
  • HOW DID THEY FINANCE A TRIP TO EGYPT? Just the journey there would be expensive, then to establish a home and feed the family; how did Joseph do this? We know they were not wealthy because they offered the poor persons sacrifice when Jesus was dedicated. I suspect they used Gold, given by the Magi. God knew the problems up ahead and financed the trip long before Joseph and Mary knew what the problems would be.
  • Whatever 2021 has in store for us, God has already planned it, provisioned it, provided for it. He’s not surprised.

Considering this text, take a moment to review the three great decisions.

1. I will Pursue Him. (Get in a Bible Study)

2. I will Worship Him. (Is your worship Emotional? Is your worship Intellectual? Is the worship you offer the Lord Costly?)

3. I will Trust him. I’m going to trust God with 2021.

Check mark those as a commitment.

 

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