Three Wise Women of Christmas

Dec 14, 2016 by

Three Wise Women of Christmas

You have heard it said that there were 3 Wise Men at the birth of Jesus. But that is not so!

  • Now these men were “wise” – we’ll give them that! Since the scriptures says so. But they left the East at the time of the appearing of the Star which indicated the birth of Christ. Their travels had taken them many days and when they arrived (wherever it was) they went to the house (v.11) where the Child and His mother were.
  • Matt.2:1-16 – (v.16) “When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi…”
  • But we have definite proof that 3 Wise Women not only were awaiting the birth of the Christ, but had vital roles in His birth!

These three women represent three age groups of women:
Anna, who was at least 84; Elisabeth, who was “advanced in years”(but still of child-bearing age); and of course, Mary, who is said to be between 14-18.

  • Anna – Luke 2:36-38
    “Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years.  Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four.
    “She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer.
    (right time/ right place?) She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.

The Wisdom of Anna was evident in several ways:
– satisfied with her “singleness” (widowhood) (LOL!)
— spent her days in prayer and fasting
— lived in expectation of the fulfillment of the Lord’s promises
— talked about the child (Jesus) to everyone who was looking for the redemption of Jerusalem

  • Elisabeth – Luke 1:5-25; Luke 1:39-66

“There was a priest named Zacharias, … and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years.

     And an angel of the Lord appeared to him (Zacharias), standing to the right of the altar of incense.  Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him.  But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.    For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb.
It is he who will go as a forerunner  before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
(Reference to Promise in Mal.4:5-6)

The Wisdom of Elisabeth was evident:
— born into the family of the priesthood
— righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord (v.6)
— she had developed much patience (waiting for a child)
— when she realized she was pregnant – she didn’t complain but rejoiced in the Lord & recognized the “favor” of God upon her life (v.25)
“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” (v.41)
— As great as was her joy at expecting her first child, she was able to genuinely celebrate with Mary when she learned that she was carrying Christ!
— (v.60- She obeyed the Lord in naming her son – tho’ her husband still couldn’t speak)
— It took an “older mother” to be proud of her unusual son, John the Baptist.

Mary – Matt.1:18-25
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 
And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”  Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:  “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.”
And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Maryas his wife,  but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.

Luke 1:26-38 – “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.  And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”

But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was.
The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David;  and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”
Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.  And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month.
For nothing will be impossible with God.”
And Mary said, “Behold, the bond slave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

The Wisdom of Mary – in so many ways:
— She was engaged to a “righteous man”
— She didn’t “protest” even though she was a virgin
— She didn’t reject the message from the Angel, but “kept pondering what kind of salutation this was” (v.29)
— She believed that what seemed impossible – was POSSIBLE with God! (v.37) And His desire became her heart’s desire!

Mary’s Response: Luke 1:46-55
“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me.
He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him.
His mighty arm has done tremendous things! He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
He has brought down princes from their thrones and exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands.
He has helped his servant Israel and remembered to be merciful.
For he made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever.”
“He has given help to Israel His servant, In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and his descendants forever.”

—  Mary’s wisdom gave her confidence to face some of the most difficult situations: Unexpected pregnancy; faithful to submit to her husband; birthing a child in a manger; and (Luke 2:19 – Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them oftenBut Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.)

— She did her part in helping “fulfill all law” –  Luke 2:22-28 — “Then it was time for their purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. 23 The law of the Lord says, “If a woman’s first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the Lord.” 24 So they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord—“either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

…”When Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required,  Simeon was there…
(v.33-35) “Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “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.”

– Mary understood what the Possibilities were with Jesus – John 2:5 – “Do whatever he tells you.”
~Shelia Hart Artt

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