Matthew 2:1-2- Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” NKJV
The narrative of the birth of Jesus did not end that night in Bethlehem. Nor did the first announcement of His birth occur on that night. Isaiah and others prophesied about the coming Messiah. These writings were not all kept in Israel. Some of these writings were left behind in the places of their captivity.
Recently, I was watching a documentary about Bible Hunters, and I was amazed that the majority of the writings of Scriptures were discovered in Egypt. I am confident that archaeologists can search any area mentioned in the Scriptures and locate evidence of God.
Such, I believe was the case of the magi who were looking for the King. They arrived in Jerusalem after a long journey from the east. We are not told how many magi came, just that they came. Many have adopted that it was three wise men because of the gifts they brought with them, but that is not validated in the Scriptures.
The East is referred to as Persia, Arabia, or even Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia is known as the cradle of civilization and could be the place of origin. However, somewhere in Persia seems most likely because of the captivity of Israel by Persia. I believe writings were found by them that told of His birth!
The magi were later given names and countries in Catholic history, but again, this is not grounded in Scriptures. What is biblically sound is that a star appeared in the sky at some point that caught the attention of the magi. (It is believed that they were possibly astronomers). As they wondered about the star, the revelation that the star announced the birth of the King of Jews came to them and they decided to follow the star to see where it would lead them.
“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”Matthew 2:2 NKJV
Apparently, when they arrived in Jerusalem, the star was no longer in the sky. They had made it close enough that they now felt they could make inquiries as to where the King had been born, for surely the Jews would know where to find their King.
This caused quite a stir in Jerusalem. King Herod was not happy to hear that an entourage had come from the east to worship the newborn King of the Jews, for he was the king of Jews and no heir had been born to him. The Jews in Jerusalem were concerned because they didn’t know what was going on, yet, men from the east had arrived to worship their King.
And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.Matthew 2:4 NKJV
Did you catch that? Herod understood that the magi had come to see the Messiah. The chief priests and scribes knew he was asking about the birthplace of the Messiah. Yet, none of them hastened to worship Him.
Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”Matthew 2:7-8 NKJV
Herod was up to no good when he called the wise men secretly to a meeting. He wanted to know when the star had first appeared to them. He encouraged them to go and learn all they could about the child and then to come back and let him know of His whereabouts so that he could also go and worship Him.
I’m surprised the wise men didn’t think that something was fishy about this. Hindsight may be assisting me right now, but it seems suspicious that the King of the Jews was born and the Jews were unaware of it. It’s also telling that they needed the wise men to come back and to tell them about the King. I’m sure this seemed a little strange to the wise men, also.
When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.Matthew 2:9-10 NKJV
Here’s biblical proof that the star had stopped leading when they arrived in Jerusalem, for as they left Jersualem to continue on to Bethlehem, the star reappeared and they rejoiced with great joy! To our knowledge, we are not certain that these men are Jews. We know they came from the east and were magi, astronomers, or wise men; we assume they were Gentiles. Yet, here we see them with great joy over the realization that they have found the King!
And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.Matthew 2:11 NKJV
Tradition has this event taking place at the manger, but here we clearly see that the wise men visited Jesus in a house. Here’s also where tradition gets the idea of the three wise men; they brought three different types of gifts, gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Tradition can soon become a sacred cow if we are not careful.
Much ado has been made over the wise men; giving them names, attributing sainthood to them, etc. The significance of their appearance in this narrative is easy to see! They came from afar to worship Him. They were drawn by the star that had appeared possibly two years before His birth, yet, in all that time, their hearts anticipated the moment when they would behold the King of the Jews! And so when they finally see Him, they worship Him!
Being warned in a dream, they did not return to Herod. They went home a different route. Joseph got a similar warning in a dream to move to Egypt. Those gifts were probably a blessing to Joseph and Mary while they were there! Then Herod’s true motive for the whereabouts of the King was unleashed on the children in Bethlehem. Instead of being drawn to worship Him, Herod wanted to destroy Him!
Worship is still expected from those who want to be in His presence. Our praise and adoration is a sweet aroma to the King, and as we worship and adore Him, He inhabits our worship. Take a few moments and enjoy Tasha Cobbs’ rendition of “O Come All Ye Faithful!” Wonderful Jesus!