The wise men were the next ones to arrive on the scene with Mary and Joseph.
We often see the manger story with them near the manger; where Mary had the baby, that is actually not accurate.
In Matthew 2 we find a different kind of story.
vs 2: About that time (when Jesus was born) some wise men (or maji) from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star (or star in the east) as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”
King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was the whole land.
He called a meeting leading priest and teachers of the law and asked,
“Where is this Messiah supposed to be born?”
“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote: vs 6b “a ruler will come from you O Bethlehem, who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.”
“Then Herod told the wise men to go to Bethlehem and search for him, come back and tell me so I can worship him too.”
vs 9: After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star in the east guided them to Bethlehem.
It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was.
When they saw the star they were filled with joy!
They entered the house [notice it is not a manger scene] and saw the child with Mary his mother, and they bowed down and worshiped him.
Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gold, frankincense and myrrh.
When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.
vs 13: After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.
“Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said, “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother and stayed there until Herod’s death.
[I don’t know how long that was for them but it was very important for them to stay away as long as possible.]
The wise men were the next ones in the story, to complete the cast of characters surrounding the birth of Jesus.
The wise men were the next ones to arrive on the scene with Mary and Joseph.
The prophecy of Anna the prophet came right after the meeting with Simeon.
Anna was a prophet who lived in the same Temple Mary and Joseph went to when they dedicated Jesus.
It tells us in Luke 2:36 that she was very old, similar to Simeon.
Most likely she knew him as they were in the same setting for a very long time.
She was a widow for eighty four years and lived in the Temple and never left there after her husband died.
The word said she had been married seven years before he died.
She worshipped and prayed day and night worshipping God with fasting and prayer.
She came near the room where Simeon was talking to Mary and Joseph and we are told she began to praise and worship God.
I often wonder how would she know this was the child, the baby Jesus? The one they waited for.
Did he look different? was there an aura around him or maybe a deep confirmation in her heart about him?
She talked about the child to every one around her who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.
Not long after that Mary and Joseph returned to Nazareth in Galilee where Jesus grew filled with wisdom and God’s favor was on him.
[I find it fascinating that both Simeon and Anna were able to SEE and meet Mary and Joseph and fulfill parts of the story.
God uses ordinary people to set the stage and allows us to see and feel the great anticipation for the coming Messiah.
I often wonder if Mary and Joseph ever truly ‘got it’…
the word said Mary hid it in her heart and thought about them often.
That would be a very amazing amount of remembering for her.
Could she really know deep in her heart that her baby was the Messiah, the Savior who would come to save the world?]
The prophecy of Anna continued to set the stage for many other scenes to come as the story unfolds.
Jesus was presented in the temple eight days after he was born, and he was circumcised as was the custom and given the proper name.
The name Jesus, the name given to him by the angel even before he was conceived.
His parents took him to the temple for a purification offering in Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord.
The law required a first child who was a son to be dedicated to the Lord.
At the time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon.
He was an old man who had waited his entire life for the Messiah to come rescue Israel.
The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.
That day the Spirit led him to the Temple.
So when Mary and Joseph came to present baby Jesus, Simeon was there.
He took the baby in his arms and praised God, saying,
“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised.
I have seen your salvation which you have prepared for all people.
He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
Jesus parents were amazed at what was being said about him.
Then Simeon blessed them and he said to Mary,
“This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others.
He has been sent as a sign from God but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.
And a sword will pierce your very soul.”
[Can you even imagine the moment Simeon saw the baby? With great anticipation and confirmation in his spirit, this is the ONE.
Have you ever anxiously waited for something and when it finally happened your JOY was complete?
I believe Simeon was like that. Now I have seen him. Now I can release myself and leave this world knowing that I saw HIM.
Just as it was promised to me.]
Jesus was presented in the temple to fulfill more of the prophecy surrounding his birth.
The night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.
Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them.
They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid! he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.
The Savior-yes the Messiah, The Lord has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others-the armies of heaven-praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph.
And there was the baby, lying in a manger.
After seeing him the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.
All who heard the shepherds story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.
The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.
It was just as the angel had told them.
[We must remember a part of this story is the shepherds were marginalized people. Not what we could call credible witnesses and yet; the people listened and believed them.
I wonder if God knew they were to be chosen so the story could be told in an amazing way through those who normally would not be listened to by others.
Value is always given when God has a hand in a chosen moment. They were given value and purpose and a reason to share. Isn’t that hopeful for others who seem to think they have no voice?]
The night there were shepherds staying in the fields and their lives would be changed forever.
When Joseph woke up from his dream he did what the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife.
But he did not have relations with her until her son was born and Joseph named him Jesus. (Matthew 1:24)
Luke 2 we learn of the birth of Jesus.
At the time of Jesus birth there was a census that was called and all the people were to return to their ancestral town to register for this census.
And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem, in Judea David’s ancient home.
He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.
While they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first born child, a son.
She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available to them.
[Now let’s stop here for a second.]
There was no lodging available because of the census and there were many people in the town.
Also it sounds so simple the way Luke writes it but I would imagine it was not that simple.
If I think of both Mary and Joseph; they would be tired after all that traveling and perhaps feeling a bit desperate to settle in for the night.
Maybe Mary was already in labor and giving Joseph the full details of what she had shared and experienced with Elizabeth while watching John’s birth.
We can only guess and imagine what it was like for this young ‘mommy’ to be and this dad who would be responsible for the ‘Son of God.’
Both were chosen and both were given a role like no other and a place in history for ever.
When Joseph woke up from his dream he knew what he needed to do and he married his wife Mary.