“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him.”
(Matthew 2:2, NASB)
The three wise men (Magi) are a fixture of Christmas. No creche scene is complete without them. However, of them we know little, neither where they were from nor even how many there were. But we do know that they left their homes with only a star to guide them in search of a king.
Kings evoke much imagery: crowns, robes, etc. Their significance is rarely understood today. A king was a vital part of a community. He was responsible for his subjects. The king and his people shared a relationship. He cared for them, and they honored him. With good, wise kings, societies prospered. With wicked foolish kings, societies experienced ruin.
At Christ’s birth, there were other kings. Our Eastern visitors naturally went to Jerusalem where king Herod lived. However, Herod was unaware of any birth and was troubled. Additionally, Herod was king only at the pleasure of the Roman king, Augustus. Neither Augustus nor Herod were born kings. Rather, they gained their position through military power and political maneuvering. The magi were looking for one born king. Jesus was no usurper. Birth assured continuity, stability, and legitimacy. Jesus is the true king!
We do not know exactly what the Magi understood about King Jesus; however, their purpose was worship. Yes, they honored Him; however, their response was more than what one gives to an earthly king. Proper worship in the New Testament is reserved for God. The purpose of these early Christmas celebrators was worship.
The Magi remind us of the purpose of Christmas. They point us to the center of this season. They model our expected response. They found what they were looking for. Let’s follow them to Jesus. Let us worship the King!