By Stephen Leonard
“When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him. Then opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:10-11
They weren’t at the manger. They are not part of the Nativity. They do not truly belong in a crèche, except symbolically. The “kings,” but really, the Wisemen, the Magi, are now found in every Nativity crèche scene. But that is for convenience sake only, for one nativity scene representing all, yet not according to the truth of the Scripture account.
Today we acknowledge on this Epiphany Day the wondrous visit of these Magi. They actually saw Jesus, Mary and Joseph in a house in Bethlehem when Jesus was a toddler less than or more than one. According to the information he received from the Magi, this is based on King Herod’s decision to kill every baby boy in the Bethlehem area who was two years old or younger. The two years time frame chosen covered his heinous margins.
These Magi, most likely associated with Daniel’s ancient group in Babylon, came on a long pilgrimage looking to worship the Christ Child. There were three gifts delivered by an unknown number of representative Magi. The gifts were symbolic of the life of this child, born King of the Jews, as well as of great value to his family.
Their monetary equivalency may have underwritten the royal family’s journey to Egypt to escape murderous Herod. The symbolism of the gifts traced the life events and eventual coronation of the One who suffered and died to accomplish your redemption.
The Magi’s visit fulfilled prophecy provided by prophets from the Old Testament era; prophecy which pointed to the birth, life, sacrifice and purpose of the promised Messiah, the Savior of His people noted in Genesis 3:15.
The Magi filled a vital role in the celebration and proclamation of the incarnation and birth of God’s only Son. They showed that the truth and power of God’s Word taught by Daniel to the original Magi could endure for centuries throughout many generations. (Exodus 20:6)
Generation after generation of Magi passed on to the next the living promise of the Savior to come. They proved that the satisfaction of waiting patiently, once for His birth, is just as certain in our waiting eagerly today for His return. (Philippians 3:20, Titus 2:13-14) Both are absolute! Come, Lord Jesus, come!
“Good Christian men, rejoice, with heart and soul and voice; now ye need not fear the grave: Peace! Peace! Jesus Christ was born to save! Calls you one, and calls you all, to gain his everlasting hall: Christ was born to save! Christ was born to save!”
(3rd verse of Heinrich Suso’s hymn, “Good Christian Men, Rejoice,” 1295-1366)