After Jesus’ birth the wise men, or magi, inquired in Jerusalem, “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.” Having been instructed to go to Bethlehem, for that was where the prophets had written, they went on their way. When they saw the star stopping over where the Christ child was, “they were overjoyed” and seeing Jesus, they “bowed down and worshiped him”. Then they presented Him with their gifts. (See Matthew 2:1-12)
The Wise Men’s Reaction to Seeing the Christ Child
The wise men knew enough to follow the star, undoubtedly already having some kind of awareness of God’s intent for Jesus to come into this world. This was confirmed when they inquired about Him in Jerusalem. When they finally arrived, worship sprang from the great joy they felt at having found the prophesied One.
Lessons for Us:
God told the Israelites through the prophet Jeremiah, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jer. 29:13) — Just as the wise men didn’t give up their pursuit but wholeheartedly and earnestly pursued Him till they found Jesus, so we too need to seek no matter where the journey of life takes us. We may need some help along the way but His star will reappear and He will be found.
Worship is the logical reaction to an encounter with Jesus. He is worthy of all honor and praise. He is the One of whom many prophecies have been fulfilled (Lk. 24:44-47; Heb. 1:1-3; 1 Pet. 1:10-12). He is the One who would bring salvation from the penalty of our sin and one day reign supreme, having overcome death, sin, and the evil one.
The Wise Men’s Offerings to the Christ Child
Out of a heart of worship, the magi presented their gifts. “… they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” (Matt. 2:11) They gave Him what they had of great value, perhaps not realizing that their gifts may well have represented Jesus’ life as the King of kings, Great High Priest, and our Suffering Savior.
Lessons for Us:
But, what gifts do we have fit for a King? What can we give in return to the One who intercedes on our behalf so that the penalty for our sin is forgiven? What can we offer the One who gave His all for us? The Apostle Paul urged believers in Rome, “in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship.” (Rom. 12:1)
He doesn’t need our worship. His worth isn’t dependent on what we offer Him. If it was, He wouldn’t be God. But, He wants us to seek Him so we can be in a relationship with Him. He doesn’t want a forced homage from us but one that springs from a heart of joy at having followed His star and found Him just as Scripture says.