The Wise Men Have Seen a Great Light
(Matthew 2:1-11)

Rev. Jim Bogle, given January 6, 2008

Matthew 2:1-3

1: 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,

2: Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

3: When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

The birth of Jesus Christ is recorded in two books of the Bible, the book of Matthew and the book of Luke. Luke speaks of the shepherds, the light of the glory of the Lord, the heavenly host, and the manger, while Matthew speaks of the wise men, the Star, the gifts, and a house.

This morning, as we look at Matthew’s recording of the birth of Christ, we will see that the experience of the wise men, even though they came to visit the Christ child some time later after his birth (possibly 18 months or even two years later), is directly related to the experience of the shepherds in the fields of Bethlehem as recorded in the book of Luke.

They both experience light and they both respond to that light.

Jesus came into this world to bear the sins of all the world, to be the Savior of the world; to be not only “the Glory of His people Israel,” but also He came “a Light to lighten the Gentiles.”

John 8:12

Jesus said,  I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

Matthew 2:1, 2

1: 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,

2: Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

“We have seen his star in the east…” They saw His star, but they were not seeing it at that moment. The star was not shinning over them, or they would not be in Jerusalem, they would be in Bethlehem worshiping the Christ child, the Lord Jesus. They are in Jerusalem because, when they saw the great heavenly light in the east, they associated that peculiar star with the prophecies of Israel.

In Numbers 24:17, the wayward prophet Balaam was moved by the LORD to prophesy “there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre (Ruler) shall rise out of Israel,” This was a prophecy of the coming of the Messiah of Israel; the King of Israel that would rule the world justly and bring everlasting peace!

The wise men of the east remembered that prophesy…though they were Gentiles, they believed the prophesy of Balaam, and were anxiously watching for that star to shine forth.

Today the Israelite’s national flag is a white field with a blue, six-pointed star – the Star of David. Yet the Israelites still do not realize that that Star has come in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I want you to note four things about these wise men – THESE WISE MEN ARE GENTILES: yet

(1)  They knew about the coming of the Israelite Messiah;

(2)  They were familiar with Israelite Scriptures;

(3)  They associated the bright and miraculous light that they saw in the east with prophecy;

(4)  And most importantly, they responded to the light.

These wise men from the east were more noble than the Priests, scribes, and the Pharisees because they believed God’s Word, and looked anxiously toward the coming birth of Israel’s Messiah. And God allowed that miraculous light to shine forth into the east, and the Wise Men not only saw the light, but they responded to the light!

John 8:12

I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

The shepherds of Israel saw the light: the wise men saw the light.

And yet how sad it is that...

There is no report that the priests saw the light: there is no report that the scribes saw the light. And there is certainly no report that Herod saw any light, or that many in Jerusalem saw the light. In fact, the Bible teaches us that Jerusalem feared the report.

Matthew 2:3

3: When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

These wise men were in town asking, “Where is he that is born king of the Jews?” Herod was king of the Jews, by Roman appointment. The Jews, even though they didn’t consider Herod much of a king, nor care at all for Roman domination, certainly didn’t want to upset the status quo. As long a Herod was quiet, Jerusalem was could pretty much go about their business in peace! Likewise, as long as Rome was quiet, Jerusalem was quiet as well.

But now these strangers have come to town looking for a new born king.

Herod was paranoid about his kingship. A cruel and crafty snake-in-the-grass, married nine times, he murdered one of his wives and two of his brothers-in-law because he thought they were plotting to take his throne. So when the wise men come looking for a newborn king, this was something for all of Jerusalem to be troubled about.

But there’s another, and even more important, reason for the people to be troubled about the report of the coming of the Christ child; If the report of their Messiah’s coming was true, they weren’t ready…

And here is the most valid reason of all for fear to fall heavily upon Israel. They were not ready for the coming of their Savior!

Question! Are you ready this morning for the coming of Christ?

The Jews were highly religious people,

They practiced their religion daily

But their hearts were far from God.

Matthew 15:8 [Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah]

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

How far is our heart this morning from the Lord Jesus Christ? If He were to come today, would we be ready for His coming?

Matthew 24:44

Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

Matthew 25:13

Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

If there was ever a more striking point to be made about the birth of Jesus Christ it would have to be the unpreparedness of the people for His coming.

Yet these wise men were not caught off guard – they were watching for the star.

1 Thessalonians 5:2-6

2: For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

3: For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

4: But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

5: Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

6: Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

Many were not ready for the coming of Christ. The Scripture says all Jerusalem was troubled when they heard the report of the wise men.

The wise men asked the question, “Where is he that is born king of the Jews”

Matthew 2:4-7

4: And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

5: And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,

6: And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

7: Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.

We must remember, or keep in mind the fact that the wise men are now arriving at least 18 months to 2 years after the actual birth of Christ. They saw the star approximately two years earlier.

What happened at that time?

Luke 2:8-9

8: And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9: And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

A glorious light shone down from heaven over the fields of Bethlehem the night that Christ was born. The Shepherds were completely taken by surprise. And the Bible says, It was the glory of the LORD! And, I believe, that light of God’s glory shining down on the shepherds was the same light that the wise men saw from the east almost two years before they arrived in Jerusalem. They said, “we came to see the one that is born King of the Jews.”

When Herod was satisfied with the wise men’s report, the Bible says:

Matthew 2:8

8: And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.






The world has been trying to drive the God of Abraham out of the hearts and minds of people for millennia. People today may find the name of Jesus offensive, they may try to rid themselves of the testimony of the church and the powerful and convicting message of the Gospel of Christ, but they will never rid themselves of the one day coming judgment wherein they will kneel before the King of Kings and the LORD of Lords, the Lord Jesus Christ, and confess Him as Lord.

Herod hated Christ and he had no intention of worshipping Him.

Matthew 2:9-11

9: When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

10: When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

11: And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Herod was not there when the wise men presented their gifts. The priests and scribes were not there. The people of Jerusalem were not there.

The wise men were there. And often seen on billboards or inscribed on Christian trinkets or printed on shirts, is the truthful phrase, “Wise men still seek Him.”

The priest and scribes were religious...but they weren’t very wise.

Herod was a king, holding great authority, but he wasn’t very wise.

Psalm 111:10

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom

Note the actions of the wise men:

1.       The wise men came to worship the newborn Messiah (their hearts were in the right place),

2.       They were not ashamed to admit that that was their TRUE goal (that should be our goal as well),

3.       They had traveled a long way (some won’t travel around the block to worship Christ),

4.       And they brought him gifts (Gold, Frankincense, and myrrh),

a.       The gold speaks of His birth.  He is born a king,

b.       The frankincense speaks of the beauty and fragrance of his life,

c.        Myrrh speaks of his death.  It is a precious spice for embalming.

In Isaiah 60, verses 1-6 speak of the Millennial Reign of Christ and the coming again of the Gentiles to worship King Jesus as he governs the world from Jerusalem.

Isaiah 60:1-6

1: Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.

2: For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.


3: And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

4: Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.


5: Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.


6: The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: (and note what they will bring) they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the LORD.


Are you rejecting the word of God today!

Isaiah prophesied who would be coming.

Daniel prophesied when He would be coming.

Micah prophesied where he would be coming.

Zechariah prophesied how he would coming.

All prophesied WHY he was coming.

Are you rejecting the Word of God today?

The Wiseman didn’t...the shepherds didn’t...Mary and Joseph didn’t…AND GOD SHOWED THEM GREAT THINGS.

Jeremiah 33:3

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

The Jews were not ready: When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, very few were truly ready for his coming.  Although many were aware of the prophecies of his coming, they were still caught completely by surprise when they heard the news.

Will you be ready when Christ comes again? WHEN JESUS COMES AGAIN, HE WILL COME QUICKLY!

Matthew 24:27

For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.