Redemption: This is referring to the experience of a life delivered from the penalty and power of sin.
You could argue that Scripture is all about what it takes to be wise. Paul said to Timothy, “The scriptures are able to make you wise unto salvation.” How much more so the Scriptures that actually record what Jesus said wisdom was about. Did He not do that in the simplest and shortest of stories, like the parable of the two men who built their houses on very different foundations? The wise guy, the one who built on rock, is the man who simply “hears these words of mine and puts them into practice.”
I think the wise men of the incarnation narrative are the trailblazers for this unquestioning obedience to the dictates of the Word and the Spirit.
“Where is the one” (Matthew 2:2): They unashamedly inquired about Jesus, determined to find out the truth about Him for themselves. Wisdom.
“The star they had seen in the east went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was they were overjoyed” (Matthew 2:9): They pursued undeterred till they found him. Wisdom.
“They entered the house ” (Matthew 2:11): They took the necessary steps to come into the geography of God’s kingdom, to come into the gravitational pull of Christ, on bended knee. The search was ended by their submission. Wisdom.
“They opened their treasures and presented him with gifts they worshipped him .” (Matthew 2:11): The revelation of Christ sprung the latch of their hearts, and they opened up their treasures, yes, but also themselves, to Jesus. Wisdom.
“They returned by another route ” (Matthew 2:12): Having found Christ, it was impossible to leave the same way they had come. It was the beginning of a new journey, a new route. Wisdom.
The root of the wise men’s joy was their obedience to follow where God would lead them, and thus, they were arguably the representative forerunners of the wise men that Jesus spoke about in his parable. Hopefully, they also are our forerunners as we come celebrating this birth, regarded by a watching world as fools but by Jesus as the truly wise. Wise not because we are wise in our own eyes, but because we have at last discovered that indeed in Christ himself are the treasures of wisdom. Celebrating this Christmas morning, we can contradict Jeremy Paxton: There are more than enough wise ones to celebrate Christmas.
A poem I wrote some years ago captures something of this. The idea is that the wise men represent Everyman, and Everyman is the sum of the journey from Eden to the present. It is called “The journey of a wise (every) man”:
I fell for fork-tongued hissing wiles,
Believing that the tree would make me wise.
I sold my soul for what beguiles,
That damned me darkly deep to folly’s guise.
Thus east of Eden, banished, I