After Jesus was born, magi from the east saw His star and came to worship Him. Who were the magi and what can we learn about Jesus from these star-following travelers?
Firstly, the magi were Gentiles.
They asked, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” This would imply they were Gentiles since they didn’t ask, “Where is Our
King?” Furthermore, they were not aware of the prophecy from Micah that the Messiah was to be born “in Bethlehem of Judea” since Herod asked the Jewish scholars where the Messiah was to be born. Bethlehem, which means “house of bread” was a fitting name for the place where Jesus, the Manna from Heaven, the Bread of God would be born. “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world” (John 6:33). This True Bread came for all people and He came to give life to all who will believe in Him – even these men from the east.
We learn from the magi that Jesus is not only the King of the Jews but He is the King of Kings who has come to give life to the world.
Secondly, the magi received revelation about the Child King’s star.
Whatever this “star” was, whether a comet, a planet, or a supernatural occurrence, these men knew it was the Promised One’s star. They said, “We have seen HIS star.” They had revelation from God, yet King Herod and the religious leaders of Israel did not see it.
There are at least two ways the magi may have received this divine revelation of the star.
The first way is that the magi may have become aware of the star prophecy in Numbers: “…a star shall come forth from Jacob, a sceptre shall rise from Israel…” (Numbers 24:17). The easterners may have especially been interested in this prophecy because it was from Balaam who was from the east (Pethor of Mesopotamia) and was not a prophet of Israel. He was a Gentile like them. The Law of Moses was brought east with Daniel and the Israelites during the Babylonian exile (see Daniel 9:11) and over time it would have been passed down.
The second way is that God may have simply revealed to the magi what this star was. Just as God spoke to them in a dream not to return to Herod, God could have simply revealed that this was the star of the Child King.
We learn from these wise men that Jesus reveals Himself to us. Although Jesus came to Israel,
most thought He would come as a conquering hero to storm the gates of Rome. But He came unexpectedly to common folks and revealed His birth to shepherds and foreigners. In John 1:11 it says, “He came to that which was His own but His own did not receive Him.” Herod and the religious leaders didn’t see His star and did not have revelation that Jesus was born (except of course through the wise men). They had knowledge about the prophecy regarding Bethlehem but they did not have eyes to see Christ’s birth.
We learn from the wise men that Jesus reveals Himself to those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6 says, “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” These curious travellers knew they saw the Child’s star…and they did something about it. They searched for Him!
Thirdly, the magi came to worship Him.
They not only searched for Jesus, they came to worship Him. This word “worship” literally means to “kiss towards” which is understood as to kiss the ground when prostrating before a superior. This is what the gospel writer, Matthew, means when he uses the word “worship.” The wise men came to bow down and adore the Christ Child. This was God in the flesh! There is no one else that should be worshipped like this – only God Himself.
Part of their worship involved presenting gifts to Him. Gold – which was a gift for a king; frankincense which was incense used to worship God and myrrh – a spice used to anoint dead bodies. In these gifts, we symbolically see that Jesus is the King of Kings, the High
Priest, and the One who would die for our sins.
We learn through the magi that Jesus came not just for the Jews but for the whole world. We learn that God reveals Himself and He rewards those who seek Him. We also learn that Jesus is the King of Kings, the High Priest and the One who died to save the world. He truly is worthy to be worshipped and adored. Oh, come, let us adore Him!
By: Barry Friesen