I hope this finds you either preparing to have or already enjoying a wonderful Christmas and holiday season. I came home Tuesday night and worked to get ready for my annual meeting with our accountant. The meeting was last night and, all in all, we had a good year, finishing strong in the last quarter.
Last Monday I wrote about the magi in The Monday Memo, those wise men who came to see and worship Jesus as described in Matthew 2:1-18. I can't seem to get this story out of my mind, so here are some additional thoughts on this story, in no particular order (you may want to read The Monday Memo 276 if you haven't already to get some additional background on this subject):
1. These wise men came from the area of modern day Iraq and were probably of the people today known as Kurds.
2. The distance from Persia to Bethlehem was 1,000 to 1,200 miles. Since they came on camels, the trip would have taken a long time. Thus they could not have arrived around the time of Jesus birth. That's a long way to come in search of spiritual knowledge. The Jews could have made a local trip to see Jesus but did not, in spite of the accounts not only of the magi, but also of the shepherds.
3. The magi were wise men who were given authority over the state religion of Persia by Darius, thus they had political influence coupled with religious wisdom.
4. At one time, Daniel was appointed head of this hereditary priesthood, thus leading to the conflict and intrigue that led to Daniel's night in the lion's den.
5. In all probability, Daniel entrusted the Messianic "secret" to a sect of the magi since he received many prophecies and was the chief magi. Many Jews in Babylon could have kept the "secret" alive over the next six centuries.
6. The magi probably arrived in Judea amidst great pomp and a large entourage, including cavalry and soldiers.
7. When the magi came and worshiped Jesus, they foretold that all earthly kingdoms and wisdom would bow to Jesus the King or perish.
8. Herod was dead shortly after he had the young boys slaughtered in Bethlehem.
9. The religious leaders told Herod and the magi where the King would be born, but they refused to follow, even out of curiosity. This depicted the eventual disinterest in Jesus by most of the Jewish leaders.
10. The magi gave gifts to Jesus. We should, too.
11. Politicians like Herod often try to use the Bible and spirituality for their own ends.
12. Politics and Jesus have never been a good mix, even in the modern world. Why? Because most politicians must lie or tell half-truths to obtain and maintain power.
13. It is interesting that the magi (non-Jews) had more integrity and spiritual hunger than Herod (a part-Jew) and the Jewish leaders (all Jews).
Feel free to write your comments or additional insight about the magi on the site where this entry is posted. You can also read my other Monday Memos by going to the site where they are located. And don't forget my personal PurposeQuest website, which has loads of material that will help you find your purpose and be productive.
From the Stanko household, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!