By Stephen Leonard
“When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.’ And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this Child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.” Luke 2:15-18
The shepherds were the first strangers to look on the just-born, Baby Jesus. But as a Toddler under two years of age, another set of strangers came to see and worship him. Both groups had personal invitations from God, the Father. The first were Jewish, and the second were Gentiles, showing that Jesus was much more than the King of the Jews; He was the King of mankind.
The first were invited by an angel who was accompanied by a great host of angels; the second, representative Magi from, most likely, Persia, were invited through a supernatural arrangement of the stars, a mysterious guiding star, and possibly some ancient instruction from Daniel, who was appointed head of a group of Magi in Persia.
These Magi brought Jesus at least three major gifts which were directed by God, for they held great symbolism for a Toddler who was together Prophet, Priest, and King! He would prophesy truth, offer Himself as a sacrifice for many, and reign as King over all. The gifts were not only symbolic of who He was, but their immediate value provided for Jesus and the Holy Family in exile in Egypt.
The Magi, with some assistance from Herod’s experts on the Scriptures, were able to go to Bethlehem, and more, find the exact house where Jesus lived with the help of a “star” precisely guiding them. This is what the Word of God tells us as perfectly true.
Around the beginning of their trip, they knew a “King of the Jews” had been born. They knew this from their astrological studies, along with the help of a peculiar star in a certain constellation, and probably passed-down-prophesy of a coming Messiah from Daniel centuries prior. In any case, God provided all this information to insure the visit of these Magi to Bethlehem.
They came to worship, for they knew Jesus was significant to the world. They knew His being had a profound influence on them and their world; otherwise, they would never have made such an arduous, and expensive journey. “Wise men” do not endeavor such a trip unless they consider the object of their journey to be life-changing. More significant than a King of the Romans, for example! This was a birth they were aware that was transformative to the world.
Now, we do not know the future history of these Magi. We do not really know for sure if we will see them in heaven. But I strongly believe that we most certainly will. They trusted in the One whom they came to worship. We do not know all the substance of what they believed, but they WORSHIPPED HIM! That is enough for me to know they came to God, acceptably through the Son, Jesus Christ. “No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Conversation with them will be a delight of eternity. I look forward to a great number of such conversations in glory, the shepherds included! These two greatly diverse worshipping visitors were personally invited by God to welcome the Savior of men into the world. The broader public were kept in the dark, but these VIP worshippers received God’s special invite.