Gift Bearers from the Nations
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth. Isaiah 49:6
Many books have I read, and many studies have I done concerning the foreign strangers from “the East who as careful students of the stars and, perhaps, with knowledge gained centuries before from a former member of the Magi in Persia, Daniel, were assured that a King had been born somewhere in Judea, when a particular “star suddenly appeared where no star had been before. There is a light shining in the darkness, and there are Gentiles, Persian Magi, who see that light and are drawn to undertake an arduous, dangerous journey to worship the King whose birth it signifies. Such a journey is not undertaken casually or on a whim.
These scholars came with knowledge which assured them of their true and powerful expectation. The “star and its peculiar nature are still debated, the Magi’s number and home(s) are uncertain. Yet the record of the journey of the Magi in the Scripture is accurate, and the knowledge of King Herod and his murderous proclivity is spread on the pages of history. The foreigners brought gifts, of which three are mentioned, and probably were the full amount of the gifts presented. Three gifts do not prove three Magi, and certainly not three “kings, which tradition and carols contrive to present as fact. What is certain is that the Scriptures are fulfilled by the providence of God, who filled the ancient prophets’ mouths and pens with His own words, and brought them to pass in the “fullness of time.
This is not the first time by any means that Gentiles were drawn to the light of the true God. Numerous times throughout Old Testament Scripture there is record of “the nations being drawn to the light of the truth of the one and only God. And Paul’s testimony in Romans 1 assures all that God has left men and women without excuse in the knowledge of the truth of Himself and of a path to salvation through a Redeemer. How He does this is not within our full knowledge or observation. The belief that He does is demonstration that one accepts the mere word of God as true and trustworthy. Jesus says that the proof of being His disciple is hearing His word and doing it. And by “His Word He means every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God beginning with Eden, including every jot and tittle of the written Word, the Bible. This is Jesus’ own testimony.
From the biblical history we can infer from what we are told that the Magi began their journey when the “star first appeared, and they arrived in Jerusalem some multiple of months after Messiah’s birth. Herod who inquired of the Magi about the time when the star first appeared, and later, based on that information, ordered that all babies in Bethlehem two years old and under be slaughtered, not much different than abortionists and their supporters today slaughter infants up to the time they are due to be born, even killing those born by accident in a botched abortion. Granting that Herod included a “fudge factor in his order, Jesus could then have been anywhere between 1 and 1 and ¾ years old, old enough to manage a difficult trip to Egypt at such a young age. But there was no way the Magi were at the stable the night of Jesus’ birth as the shepherds were. Nativity scenes today are forgetful of this fact, while still serving a useful purpose.
These Magi, whom we will greet in heaven, are representative of all of us Gentiles, before and after Christ, who bring gifts and come to worship the Savior of our souls. The gifts he truly seeks are broken and contrite hearts; devotion of heart, strength, and mind; the gift of a willing spirit to be a servant obedient to His every command. These are YOUR gold and frankincense and myrrh!
The 6th of January is Epiphany in a centuries-long Church tradition signifying the journey and adoration of the Magi. It is useful in your own worship and meditation, as the church year provides a regular remembrance of the spiritual lessons learned from our Lord’s historical life on earth. Not only did Jesus passively suffer for your salvation with a willing heart, He actively pursued your salvation in the things He did, the law He fulfilled, and the prophecies He brought to fruition.
So bring your gifts to Him as the Magi did. Give Him your heart.
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