Were the wise men really wise?

  • Matt's Musings

You know the story – wise men (often referred to as three kings because of the three different gifts) travelled a long way, following a star to see a toddler called Jesus. When they found him, they worshipped him as the one who had been born king. Does their strange act mean they should be called stupid men or does it demonstrate true wisdom?

To answer this question, we need to think for a few minutes about wisdom. There’s a book in the Bible all about wisdom. It’s called Proverbs and it states that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. It then shows us in very real terms what a person with this wisdom looks like. They will be a friend who sticks closer than a brother. The words from their mouth will be a fountain of life. They will love even their enemies. They will work hard and treat people fairly. They will be patient and not easily angered. They will be concerned for the poor. Their plans will ultimately succeed. Everything they do will be good.

Proverbs also says that wisdom cries out to us. Wisdom cried out to the wise men 2000 years ago. They travelled many miles to worship a baby who was and is wisdom from God. When you read through the book of Proverbs, Jesus is being described. He is the one who laid down his life for his enemies. He is truth. He is the word who speaks and gives life. He is the friend who will never leave us or forsake us. All of his judgments are fair. He is deeply concerned for the poor in spirit. To fear the LORD is to understand who God is, who we are and why we need to trust Jesus. Doing so doesn’t enslave us, but rather sets us free. It is only in Jesus that true wisdom and understanding are found.

The wise men realised that the one who had been born was the Wise Man that God had promised. They responded in the only right way to God’s good gift – with hearts of thankfulness and worship. In doing so, they showed true wisdom. Proverbs speaks about another voice that cries out. It’s the voice of folly. It says, live for the moment, live for yourself, live without Jesus. Thankfully the wise men listened to the right voice. Will you?