I’ve always been a little intrigued by the Wise Men/Magi/WeThreeKings. Who exactly were these men who came and bowed a knee to Jesus?
“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him” (Matthew 2:1-2, NIV84).
Historically, we really don’t know who they were, except that the word translated magi (magoi) was used to designate an “honorable class of astrologers” (Nelson’s Compact Bible Commentary). Matthew himself tells us that they were from the east, which meant they were probably Persian.
The Persians had used the term magi to refer to the wise men, interpreters of dreams, and astrologers who studied stars. Remember Daniel? He rose to prominence in the Persian Empire because of his God-given ability to interpret dreams and was one of several wise men within the court.
We don’t know who these men were, but we do know that they were Gentiles. Perhaps they had heard the stories of Daniel’s God. Maybe the presence of a supernatural star was enough to encourage them to seek out something they knew was beyond themselves.
Whatever the reason, they came to worship.
We Have Come to Worship Him
“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 and of incense and of myrrh” (Matthew 2:11).
The three gifts gave rise to the tradition of three magi, but no one knows for sure. What we do know is that they traveled a long distance, probably for several months, following a star–a sign in the heavens, that would lead to the King of the Jews.
Why? Why would they travel so far, for so long, carrying gifts so they could worship the God of another people?
Why do we come? Why do we travel down the road of our story, following a God we can’t see or touch, to lay our lives down at His feet?
Why do we give ourselves in worship to a God who doesn’t always bring the perfect ending to our story?
Maybe like the wise men, we’ve seen the face of God–we’ve been drawn to something we know is beyond ourselves. We realize that whatever distance we have to travel, whatever we have to leave behind, it’s all worth it compared to the joy of knowing and worshiping Jesus.
I feel a little kindred spirit with these guys. I certainly came from afar. I came to Jesus not really sure who He was, but knowing I was in need of a Savior, following the path my heart was leading me down. It was a long way from my life of sin to the feet of Jesus. But He met me right where I was.
I don’t have treasures to give to Him, but He said where our treasure is–that’s where our heart is. My heart is my treasure, and that I can give.
I don’t know your story–whether you are already there at the feet of Jesus or perhaps still on your journey from afar. But I do know this: Jesus is worthy of all that we have to give. His birth was significant two thousand years ago and is still significant today.
You may not understand the yearning you feel for God or the desire to worship Him. It’s possible the wise men didn’t either. But they came, compelled by something beyond themselves. They came–Gentiles, unclean, pagan, foreign–they came to the King of the Jews. And they laid their treasures at His feet.
You can too.