“Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.’” (Matthew 2:1-2)
The story of the wise men has always stuck out to me. It’s not always one that people would necessarily talk about first when you think about the many different Christmas narratives. It has always intrigued me when I think about these men bringing gifts to the Savior. Here is a narrative that almost sets the stage for our modern-day Christmas and gift giving. But, what sticks out to me most about this narrative is the fact that three men (or kings), were led to Jesus from a star and were used as part of the plan to ensure King Herod didn’t find Jesus as he wanted Him dead. God has a true plan and a true love for a relationship with us. He guides the way to protect His Son here on earth. You never know who might be part of the plan, including three wise men who we do not know much about!
“King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, ‘Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?’ ‘In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they said, ‘for this is what the prophet wrote: And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities] of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’” (Matthew 2:3-6)
King Herod felt threatened and disturbed by the fact that a potential religious king would come and overtake him or be more powerful. When the wise men came to tell him of this news, that they were going to worship Jesus, he knew that the Jews expected the Messiah to come soon. Civil unrest was a huge thing with Herod in Jerusalem. News of the birth of the Messiah had the opposite effect on him and his government compared to the hope of the Jewish people. Herod came up with a ploy to find out where Jesus was so that he could kill Him. But we soon learn as we read further in Matthew, that evil will not prevail and that God and His plans will succeed!
“Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, ‘Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!’ After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2: 7-11)
These wise men had such great faith as they traveled hundreds of miles to deliver these gifts to Jesus. As part of what the season is about, they were filled with great joy of seeing the Messiah in person and giving Him these gifts. An amazing piece to this story is the fact that they were guided by the star in the east to Jesus. Suspense and expectancy build as the climax to this story is about to take place. What really struck me was in verse 11 when they entered the house, and all of them bowed down to worship Him. Under regular circumstances when children are born, we don’t usually bow down and worship them. This is a little perplexing. The great faith they had in a baby being the one true Messiah is amazing. Their faith was unwavering, and they could feel His presence.
While Jesus doesn’t need material things, these gifts that they had brought were the true essence of it being the thought that counts.
- Gold- associated with kings and Jesus was the King of Kings!
- Frankincense- used for worship in churches; people would use this for praise and worship towards Jesus.
- Myrrh- this is a type of fragrance used on dead bodies to help them smell more pleasant. This symbolizes Christ’s crucifixion.
“When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.” (Matthew 2:12)
God led them in faith to the King of Kings in the flesh on the earth. A star shone on the earth to let them know that Jesus was born! He also used them to help ensure that Herod would not make his way to Jesus. We thank God for His plans and how He uses us to expand His Kingdom and plans here on earth!
Their steadfast faith and devotion to Jesus was one that led them right to Him in the flesh! As Christians, we can take something from this! We can acknowledge that Jesus came in the flesh to die for our sins. He gave us the ultimate gift of salvation. We need to acknowledge Jesus as our King and Lord of our lives. As I mentioned in my previous blog, Jesus gave us the ultimate gift and wants the ultimate gift from us, ourselves. Bring Jesus your best gifts as He is worthy. The three wise men’s narrative lives on in our season of giving gifts to those we love.
May He bring you peace, hope, love, and joy this holiday season!
This holiday season, as you give a gift; remember the gift God gave you, His only Son!