Jesus said, “I am coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the words of prophecy written in this book”.
The excitement and anticipation of Christmas Day is past, and the gifts are unwrapped. Are you returning your nativity scene back into the box to use the following year? Did you survive all the hustle and bustle of activities?
Almost 2,000 years ago, the excitement in Bethlehem did not cease immediately the day after Christmas. In the Book of Matthew, the “wise men” (also known as the Magi), from “Eastern lands” arrived on the scene in Jerusalem after Jesus was born in Bethlehem. There is not an interval of time mentioned in Matthew between the birth of Jesus and the wise men's appearance.
There is very little known about the Magi. Warren W. Wiersbe wrote, “The word translated wise men (magi) refers to a group of scholars who studied the stars. Their title connects them with magic, but they were probably more like astrologers”. Matthew does not tell the ancestry or the exact number of the wise men. However, it is generally assumed that there were three and that is based on the three gifts they presented to Jesus. Their gifts were gold, frankincense, and myrrh which symbolized Christ's identity and mission; “gold was a gift for a king; frankincense was a gift for diety; and myrrh was a spice used to anoint the dead” (NLT).
In Jerusalem the Magi asked: “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worhip Him”. God gave them a road sign to guide them to the Messiah; the star. This star was not an ordinary star, but an extraordinary bright star that announced the birth of the Messiah. Some researchers think the “star in the East” was a comet; others think it was a conjunction, or a gathering of planets in the night sky.
For the Magi, the actual journey to Bethlehem most likely took them a long time because Matthew states: “When they went into the house (not a manger), 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” (NKJV). The “wise men” recognized Jesus Christ as the Messiah when He was a child. As was typical, when venerating a king, they kneeled down and this gesture showed great respect and adoration for Jesus as they worshiped Him as the Messiah.
The Old Testament stated various prophecies (road signs) telling God's people centuries ago when, and how, the Messiah would be born. Christians in this day of age also have available Biblical prophecies (road signs) to keep in your thoughts. God's people today are comforted by the fact of knowing that Jesus came as was prophesized and we also know the joy that Jesus Christ will come again. That is the only hope for our future.
Lord Jesus, thank You for being our “bright morning star” that guides us as we live each day. Constantly remind us that You are the Alpha and the Omega. Amen.
~ Ann Brock Ludington