2. WISE MEN FROM THE EAST (Matt.2:1-12)
BACKGROUND: Many Jews had stayed in Persia (formerly Babylon) even after the exile had ended 500 years earlier. The wise men were both astrologers and astronomers and had a different religion from that of the Jews. The distance between Persia and Palestine was 1000-1500 km.
- How long would the wise men's journey have taken, if a camel walks 30 km a day?
- What do you think the bosses, wives and neighbors of these men thought about this
- Why did the wise men want to worship the king of the Jews, instead of their own king?
- Why did the wise men want to give valuable presents to the new Jewish king
- The Jews hadn't had a king for about 600 years. Herod was only a vassal of the Romans. Why were Herod and all Jerusalem disturbed when they heard about the birth of a new king
- What did Herod in fact believe in verses 4,16? (What did he believe concerning his own power - the Bible - the Messiah - God's
- From which point to which point did the star lead the wise men - look at verses 2 and 9?
- Why didn't God let the star lead the wise men directly to Bethlehem - why the detour through Jerusalem? (Why was it important for the wise men to come to contact with God's written word?)
- What kind of "star" has God sent into your life to lead you to Jesus?
- Babylonians built the tower of Babel, stole the Arc of the Covenant and destroyed the Temple. The wise men were their descendants. Why did God lead his enemies to be the first to worship his newborn Son as a
- When hearing rumors about the new king being born in Bethlehem, only 12 km away, why didn't any of the people in Jerusalem go to worship him
- In what ways was the new king different from what the men had perhaps imagined beforehand?
- What in the faith of the wise men an example to us?
- The wise men gave precious gifts to baby Jesus. What did they get from him in return?
- Why were these presents badly needed in Joseph's family (vs.13)?
- What should you give to Jesus as a birthday present this year?
- How do you think the life of these wise men was back in Persia, in the midst of idol worship and pagan religions?
GLAD TIDINGS: Jesus was not treated as a king many times during his life. The wise men worshipped him as such in the beginning of his life, and the Roman governor Pilate wrote that title on his cross. Jesus was a king who welcomed even his enemies to come and worship him.