Magi, Kings, and a Star! “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him,” (Matthew 2:1-2 NIV). What would Christmas be like without the Wisemen (Magi)? They and their gifts for King Jesus are woven into the Christmas musicals, songs, plays and stories of our day in many ways. Much tradition and folklore has grown up around these Bethlehem visitors which has no biblical foundation. So who were these Wisemen (Magi)?
It appears these men were not kings but rather men from a priestly class of people in Mesopotamia, maybe from Persia or Babylonia. This class of people was deeply involved in all kinds of studies and learning but particularly in the religious realm. And they had a vital interest in astronomy or astrology and they studied the heavens for the movements of stars and planets. So when God placed a special star in their sight they were excited and inquisitive.
Seeing The Star they followed their religious training and knowledge and the direction of the Star and ended up in Jerusalem. They apparently knew the Hebrew Scriptures better than the reigning King. May we just draw a few lessons from these two verses about this Christmas season? As these Wisemen did we also should be studying the things of God, especially the Word of God, and those things relating to His first coming and now also His second coming. The Wisemen realized that the one who was recently born was more than just a mere human being. They must have believed that the new born king was also divine because they came “to worship him” and only God is worthy of worship. Let us make sure this Christmas time is focused on our worship of the King and not on all the other things that we enjoy so much that distract us.
The Wisemen invested much time, travel, and treasure in leaving their home country to come to Jerusalem and eventually Bethlehem to worship the divine King that resided in that little town. And we should not forget that God invested a lot Himself in leaving heaven and coming to planet earth to save us sinful creatures from ourselves. The Wisemen were not satisfied with just studying and learning and conjecturing about what they saw and learned. They put feet to their beliefs. At this Christmas time let us not be satisfied with just reading about the first Christmas events but let us put feet to what the Bible has taught us about God’s love, humility, His great gift of His Son, and the reciprocal giving of our gifts to the King of Kings as demonstrated by the Wisemen. What those gifts should be from us to God can best be determined by God’s Holy Spirit speaking to our hearts but first and foremost it should be the giving of ourselves to God in return for His giving His Son to us. Are you listening to God’s Holy Spirit during this Christmas season and responding to His voice?