by Jeff Strite

This content is part of a series.

The Praise Of The Wise (4 of 5)
Series: Living Like Jesus
Jeff Strite
Matthew 2:1-12

OPEN: When I was a boy, every December we'd sing: We Three Kings Of Orient Are''
Stand with me and let's sing just the first verse together:

''We three kings of Orient are, bearing gifts we traverse afar.
Field and fountain, moor and mountain, following yonder star.
O star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect Light.''

Please be seated.

The song tells us the Kings from the Orient ''traversed afar''.
How far was ''afar''??
Well some believe they may have traveled about 1000 miles to get to Bethlehem. That's roughly the same distance as from here to Phoenix, Arizona. You or I could make the journey in about 20 hours… but then we have 4 lane highways, and can travel at 65 mph.
These Magi didn't have those advantages. Some scholars speculate it might have taken them 2 to 3 months to make it to Jerusalem.

And theirs was not a ''safe'' journey. Much of the way would have been unprotected by armed forces meant to protect travelers. Thieves and robbers plagued many of the roads and forced merchants and commoners to travel in large groups, called caravans, for safety.

But these were neither commoners nor merchants. They were prominent men of society. One preacher I respect speculated that ''at a minimum they would have brought with them a full military escort along with their servants. The total party could have amounted to more than 300 people.''
(Brian Bill,

That would have explained the stir they caused when they rode into Jerusalem. To have 300 people of obvious importance walk into Jerusalem would have caught the imagination of the entire city. And the fact that these Kings or Magi had no trouble gaining an audience with King Herod gives us a pretty good idea that these were men of prominence and power.

So, we're looking at mo ...

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