“And behold, the star they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the Child was. 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 2:9-11
Are you related to Middle Eastern folk from the faraway past? Yes, of course you are! We know that all who are in Christ are members of the same family, adopted children of the Heavenly Father. This includes men and women from all tribes of the earth. The makeup of heaven reflects the great human diversity of the whole world, and we will one day speak the same language – the language of heaven.
The Magi of Matthew 2 are clearly believers in the long-prophesied King of the Jews, for they came on a distant journey bearing gifts to truly worship and adore Him. The rising of the star announced the birth, and they began their earnest journey soon after.
Although they were not a part of Israel, God’s chosen people, they were nevertheless knowledgeable about various scrolls of the prophets of Israel. Was the Persian exile of God’s people responsible for this knowledge? For Daniel, in exile, was appointed by the Persian king Nebuchadnezzar to be the head of all his wise men, called Magi (Daniel 2:48).
Even the Apostle Matthew called these obviously impressive visitors to Herod’s Court in Jerusalem “Magi.” They told King Herod they were searching for the King of the Jews because they had seen His star in the East announcing His birth – the same star that has mystified astronomers of every age since it first appeared.
These were believers who were descendants of the same Magi whom Daniel had taught and discipled in the truth of his convictions concerning the one true God. This exile, and particularly Daniel’s, provided a necessary piece of preparation for Messiah’s Advent. God ensured members of these Magi would come generations later bearing gifts – the same gifts which provided for the Holy Family in crisis. The great enemy Satan could not keep up with the meticulous and perfect providence of God. He sought to destroy; God meant to protect.
They are, you could say, “distant cousins” of yours, or rather brothers in the Lord. Readers and believers of the Word are aware of just how big and diverse their family of God really is, not only in present time, but in each age.
The Magi were Persians and part of a great empire. As in all ethnicities of the world, God has called out His remnant from each. There were definitely among these Magi those who were committed by faith to the one true God, the God of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They searched the heavens with wisdom, and when this certain star appeared, they knew what it meant. Their excitement was palpable. Generations of their forebears had looked with anticipation for years, but they were the ones chosen to see it.
Epiphany, Monday the 6th, is just a day of the year to remind you to remember these not-so-distant relatives we will lay our eyes on in eternity. They kept watch along with each of their preceding generations, made the long journey, and found the object of their search: the babe, the son of Mary, Son of God, and Light from Light!
Can you see yourself bowing down to worship a baby or a small toddler you had never seen before? It sounds strange for grown adults. Yet the faith of these wise men was sure. They believed they were in the presence of God’s Son. At that time, He could not convince them by His great wisdom as to who He was, but they had studied enough, they had believed what they studied, the Spirit indwelt them, they had observed the sign of the star, they had followed the star to this particular house, and they were convinced by their certain faith. These were no dunces but rather men of great knowledge and maturity.
The wonders of this amazing, historic story bring continuous confirmation to your heart that you serve a great God and His Word never fails. The angels watch from heaven and are ecstatic with the unfolding fulfillment of God’s plan. They have to wonder why the children of men are not similarly overwhelmed with praise. May you not be like those who feel no great joy from their faith and seeing God’s plan unfold.
“As with joyful steps they sped to that lowly cradle bed, there to bend the knee before Him whom heav’n and earth adore; so may we with willing feet ever seek Thy mercy seat.”
(Second verse of William Chesterton Dix’s hymn-carol, “As with Gladness Men of Old,” 1860)
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