Following the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem of Judea, a strange star had appeared in the night’s sky. Trained and learned magi, a specialized caste of wise men, took eager note of this celestial appearance. These men were experts in astrology, astronomy and the natural sciences (reference footnotes Matthew 2:1). They knew the significance of this unique star and set out to meet this newborn king of the Jews, as had been foretold in ancient texts (Micah 5:2). These men of power and great influence prepared their staff to drive their camel caravans across desert lands and far away places in order to meet this newborn king. With royal gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh secured to their caravans for the babe, their elaborately adorned camel caravans were pointed west. The time had come. The prophesied arrival of the King of the Jews had come and not a moment could be lost.
The magi followed the star to the city of Jerusalem of Judea and went directly to King Herod to inquire of this new king’s location that they may go straight to the babe to worship the new king.
“1Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 2“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” Matthew 2:1-2 (NASB)
Upon hearing the words of these magi, King Herod was very worried. King Herod had come to power after much war and fighting. And most likely, he himself, was called King of the Jews. Thus, to hear of an inquiry of a newborn king with the same title demanded immediate attention and ultimate termination of any potential threat to his throne over Judea. The whole land of Jerusalem was buzzing with the news of the magi. To maintain his royal status and place over his people, King Herod ordered an assembly of all the head priests and teachers of the Law in order to learn more of this prophetic birth of the Messiah, the Christ—announced through the dawn of a distinct star. With well-known leaders standing before the king, the king was ready to wipe out any potential uprising. The head priest and teachers shared that according to the Law, the Messiah, the Christ, was to be born in Bethlehem to fulfill what the prophet had predicted hundreds of years previous (Micah 5:2). The priests and teachers then read the prophesy to the king (Matthew 2:3-5).
“‘6And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; For out of you shall come forth a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’” Matthew 2:6 (NASB)
King Herod called a secret meeting with the magi to glean from their expertise of the night sky. He inquired of the exact date that they first noticed this star. The magi stated confidently that it was around two years previous that they had first viewed this star, which they had come to follow now for about as long, in search of this prophetic birth. With this information, King Herod plotted to kill the Christ child. He planned to use the magi as spies for him to locate Jesus within Bethlehem. But, rather than stating his insidious plan to these leaders from a foreign land, with deceptive eyes sparkling as much as his jewels, a falsehood of a deadly kind was presented to the magi (Matthew 2:7).
“8And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.” Matthew 2:8 (NASB)
The magi showed their respects to King Herod and continued on their journey to locate the Christ child in Bethlehem by following the unique star that had so faithfully directed them for roughly two years now. When they saw the star again, they were filled with great joy. As the star rested above the house where Mary and Joseph lived, they found Jesus with His mother (Matthew 2:9-10)
Ladies, put yourselves in the place of Mary in that moment. Imagine that you are preparing bread for an upcoming meal or playing outside with your toddler Son, when a prestigious entourage approaches the place where you are staying. As the camels halt before your dwelling, water is grabbed for their camels by their escorts. A wide variety of expensive textiles cover the backs of these enormous animals. Even the caravans of these men were decorated. The magi wore fine linens and held themselves with confidence and prestige.
As they dismount and approach your dwelling, fine linens and prestige, give way to sincere awe and uncontainable joy at the sight of your Son. All of these foreign dignitaries fall face down onto the ground before your toddling Son and worship Him. You thank God in your heart for this incredible moment. These magi were yet another declaration from strangers that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ. The magi then presented their precious gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the toddler King, who was Jesus, the Christ—the prophesied Messiah (Matthew 2:11).
“And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way.” Matthew 2:12 (NASB)
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