Mar 25, 2009, 8:27 AM
the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where
is the one who was born king of the Jews? We saw His star in the east and have
come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:1-2)
No ordinary star
Wise men from the east travelled from Mesopotamia following a peculiar star which led them to a place where a special event had occurred. This prophecy is recorded in the book of Numbers where allusion is made to a star. “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a sceptre will rise out of Israel.” (Numbers 24:17) It is believed that Jews in the diaspora would have shared their belief about the coming of the Messiah, which triggered the research.
These wise men who had followed that star were astrologers no doubt. They were not kings as religion has made us believe throughout these centuries. They were scientists. Nowhere in the Bible is it said that there were three wise men either. For close to two years they had followed that star; “....and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.” (Matthew 2: 9) Supernaturally, these wise men – like fishermen at sea who are guided by the stars – traced their way to the place where the child was born.
The star did not only announce the exact timing of this virgin birth, the place (Bethlehem) where it occurred, but it also pointed to the house where Joseph, Mary and the child were lodged. By this time they were no longer in the stable at the inn. The picture religion has painted of this scene is that the sages visited in the stable and presented their offerings to the family. It further deduced from the gifts offered that the wise men were three. The Bible records ‘wise men,’ no number is given.
These wise men did not get it right the first time; they inadvertently stopped at King Herod’s palace in the belief that a king should be found in a palace - not this king unfortunately. He came in meekness and humility, with no pomp. They asked: ‘Where is the one who was born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2) That caused a stir in the palace; a king other than the one Rome had installed? After a closed-door interview with the wise men, Herod extracted from them information that he desperately needed. Then panicked-stricken, he summoned an emergency meeting of the local chief priests and teachers of the law to find out “where this Christ was to be born.” (Matthew 2:4) “In Bethlehem in Judah,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet (Micah) has written.” (verse 5) “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be shepherd of my people Israel.” (Matthew 2:6)
A disturbed Herod
Herod could not contain his disturbed state of mind. He literally feared that this child was going to dethrone him. But he needed to act cautiously in order to get more information added to what he had gleaned from his religious advisers. So he told them, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” (Matthew 2:8) That was deceitful, for when the wise men did not return “... they returned to their country by another route” Herod was enraged and ordered that children from zero to two years be slaughtered. He would not tolerate another king in his kingdom. Little did he know that baby Jesus had no intention of unseating him for his kingdom was not of this world. (John 18:36)
Weren’t these wise men overjoyed that they had come to the end of their prolonged search? Indeed, every treasure we lay hands on becomes a fulfilment of our purpose. Joy overflowed in the hearts of these wise men as they bowed down and worshipped Jesus. We should be filled with similar sentiments when we look for and find Jesus. Then we too can worship Him as the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
These wise men did not come to Bethlehem empty-handed; they brought treasures with them for King Jesus and their treasures were worth their weight in gold, frankincense and myrrh. Coming to the Saviour is in itself an act of worship.
And when you come offer Him your heart, your soul, mind and strength (that is your life) as an act of total commitment that you may be blessed beyond measure.