Are we SEEKING to WORSHIP JESUS, our REDEEMER & KING?
October 8 Bible Reading: Matthew Chapters 1-3
“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.’ 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.” (Matt. 2:1-2, 11)
Bethlehem (means the “House of Bread” in Hebrew) is a village about five miles south of Jerusalem, and was the hometown of David, the greatest king of Israel (1 Sam. 16:1, 19). This was the city of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 2:4–7), as predicted by Micah the prophet (in Micah 5:2). In the New Testament it is mentioned only in the Gospels and always in reference to the birth of Jesus Christ.
The visit of the wise men to Bethlehem was recorded only by Matthew in order to authenticate the kingship of Jesus Christ. Bible scholars are of the opinion that these wise men were educated Gentile astrologers, who were probably from Mesopotamia, the region of ancient Babylon. We do not know where they lived in the East, how many there were, or, how long their journey lasted. It is highly likely that the visit of the wise men took place some months after the birth of Jesus since Joseph and Mary were living in a house and Jesus was referred to as a child, not an infant (v. 11).
However, it was the star in the East that somehow made them aware of the birth of a King, whom they came to worship. It is possible that they knew of Balaam’s prediction that a Star would come out of Jacob (Num. 24:17) and connected this with the prophecy of seventy weeks which foretold the time of Christ’s first coming (Dan. 9:24, 25). The course of this star was highly irregular; it went before the wise men, leading them from Jerusalem to the house in Bethlehem where Jesus was living (v. 9). Then it stopped, as a divine manifestation used by God to indicate the place of the Messiah’s birth. In fact, it was so unusual that it can only be accounted for as a miracle!
It was ironic that the Jewish leaders were out of step with what God was doing in history through His Son, whereas Gentiles came to worship the King of the Jews from beyond the borders of Israel. When they entered the house, the wise men saw the young Child with Mary His mother. They fell down and worshiped Him, offering costly gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Since the wise men brought three gifts, it has been assumed that they were three in number. The gifts they brought also spoke volumes (Ps. 72:10; Isa. 60:6): gold symbolized royalty, frankincense was a fragrance that spoke of sacrifice, and myrrh was an ointment that signified death. These gifts would have provided the financial resources for Mary and Joseph’s flight to Egypt (vv. 13–15). Let’s note that God promises to provide what is necessary for His children and to care for their needs as well (see Matt. 6:19–34).
Significantly, the wise men traveled far from the east just in order to worship Jesus Christ, as they had recognized His deity as God incarnate in the flesh. They were ‘wise’ since they could use the navigation course of the star to locate the new-born king of the Jews. The star signified their godly vision, which they had to follow in order to see and worship the Son of God. However, they strayed from their godly vision and reached the palace in Jerusalem, which ultimately resulted in the death of countless male children in Bethlehem (vv. 16-18).
Ultimately, it was God’s Word through Micah (5:2) that confirmed the vision of the wise men and led them to see and worship the Messiah! Let us be clear that Jesus Christ is the virgin-born Son of God, who deserves our sincere worship today. Just like the wise men, are we seeking to worship Jesus, our Redeemer and King?