There are some really interesting people in the story of Christmas. We have Mary and Joseph, baby Jesus (who is, the Son of God), the shepherds, the angels who were there on that night Jesus was born. You might be thinking to yourself: what about the three kings? The wise men!
Well, they were not there, despite the fact Nativity sets include them. The Bible introduces them in Matthew chapter 2. Mary, Joseph and Jesus are not in the stable any more and Jesus was most likely a toddler:
2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 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.”
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6 “‘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 shepherd my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
What I find interesting about these men is that they were pagans. They were probably astrologers and some even believe they were involved with sorcery or black magic. The Bible does not tell us how they knew to expect or even recognise this king was the king of the Jews, but God in his mighty plan, used creation to show them where to go. “We saw his star”. God surprises us again. We might have thought He would bring the priests or teachers of the law, no. He brought foreigners, from a distant land, people that practiced things that were forbidden for the Jews in the law of Moses. They answered His call by following the star. Not only that, they said to Herod in verse 2 “(we) have come to worship him”.
God is sovereign and He has all the power and authority to bring to Him whom he wills. We very often make assumptions about people that we think will never be able or willing to recognise Jesus as their king. We forget that it is God himself who brings people to him. In Isaiah chapter 60:3-6, we get the picture that people will come from every nation to worship the promised King.
3 Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.4 “Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the hip. 5 Then you will look and be radiant,
your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you,
to you the riches of the nations will come. 6 Herds of camels will cover your land,
young camels of Midian and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the Lord.
How extraordinary, even as Jesus’s story on Earth was just beginning, what was written about Him many years earlier, in the Bible, was now being fulfilled and we often miss this precious detail.
The Magi told Herod they wanted to worship the King of the Jews and that is what they did when they arrived at the house where Jesus was. Verse 11 of Matthew 2 says “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh“.
Many start their journey wanting to worship king Jesus and get distracted along the way. Here we see they actually bowed down before Him. I find it hard to imagine what it must have felt like – to kneel before THE KING OF THE WHOLE UNIVERSE.
Thinking about these characters who play this important part in the story makes me realise that Jesus did come for those in darkness, those that are sinners, those that are broken, those that are lost. He came for me, He came for you. The Magi recognised Jesus as king, by bowing down to Him they recognise His authority and rule. Do I recognise that? Do you? This is a good time to ponder over these important questions and if the answer is “Yes”, praise Him for that, for your faith and mine is a gift from Him and may He continue to bring us back to His throne and may we continue to bow down to His authority and rule over our hearts. If the answer is “No”, may I encourage you to read the rest of the story and consider Jesus, his life, his death and His rule. The time is now – do not delay.
One thing about me is that I love music and how it brings us closer to God and makes us think about who He is and what He has done for us. Whilst you think about the wonders of the Christmas story and this mighty King Jesus, listen to this invitation from this beautiful song called O Come, All You Unfaithful from Sovereign Grace Music.