The Magi from the East

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem (Matt. 2:1 KJV).

Wise men or magi from the east visiting Jesus

The Magi were originally an elect class of men amongst the Persians and Medes. These wise men and priests had special knowledge and abilities. In the Old Testament, Daniel was made the head of these wise men (Dan. 2:48), which is probably why they knew about the birth of the King of the Jews.

The story of the Magi reveals how silently religion and tradition can infiltrate our Christian  doctrine. M.R Vincent in his 1887 classic said “Many absurd traditions and guesses respecting these visitors to our Lord’s cradle have found their way into popular belief and into Christian art. They were said to be kings, and three in number; they were said to be representatives of the three families of Shem, Ham, and Japhet….”

The Bible does not say how many Magi visited the newborn Jesus, so who decided there were three wise men? Many of us simply grew up knowing there were three! We all have traditions. The difference is just how much we allow our traditions to interfere with the Word. Some Christians hold on to traditions that they never personally studied, and then take serious offense at any believer who challenges those traditions. It is time to question the things we have simply just accepted, and instead, seek the Word for answers. Faith is not blind dogmatism. It is rooted in the light of the knowledge of the Word.

MEDITATE

Do you think there are doctrines you have believed, which are human traditions, rather than God’s Word?

APPLY THE WORD

Your only shield from the influence of tradition is your accurate, personal knowledge of the Word. As long as you depend only on other people to tell you what God said, you remain a good candidate for human deceit and manipulation.

PRAY

Ask the Lord to keep you from the influence of human doctrines, traditions, and laws.

Vincent, M. R. (1887). Word studies in the New Testament (Vol. 1, pp. 19–20). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

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