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Amazing Possibilities!

  • Writer's pictureMatthew Kelly

What Made the Wise Men WISE?

I have always been fascinated with the story in the Bible about the Magi following the star. For years I have spent hours reading and reflecting upon this story.

It is first of all important to acknowledge that it was not the chief priests, or even the high priest of that year, who recognized the signs that accompanied the coming of Jesus. It was, rather, the three simple Magi. The star rose in the east, and they fixed their gaze upon the star and followed it with unwavering persistence.

One Christmas years back, I was driving past a church on the East Coast of America and outside was one of those message boards. It read, “Wise men still seek Jesus today.” That simple message had an impact on me and renewed my interest in the story. My reflection leads me to ask these questions: “What was the difference between the Magi and everybody else on the planet at the time that Jesus made his entrance into the world?” “What was the difference between the three wise men and the chief priests?”

When someone shares a remarkable insight or a rare piece of knowledge, you will sometimes hear people say, “Oh, isn’t she wise!” Yet there is an enormous difference between knowledge and wisdom. The chief priests had knowledge. They knew everything there was to know about the coming Messiah. They could have recited every passage from their sacred scriptures that related to the coming of the Messiah, including the place of his birth. The Magi didn’t have anywhere near as much knowledge as the chief priests did regarding the coming of the Christ, but what they did know they lived by.

They only knew one thing. They knew if they followed the star, it would lead them to the Chosen One. Therein lies the key to wisdom. Wisdom is truth lived. And that is why we call the Magi “the wise men” and the chief priests “the chief priests.”

Wisdom is not the amassing of knowledge. Google has plenty of information, but it has no wisdom. Wisdom is truth lived.

Matthew Kelly

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