The Wise Men’s Journey


The three Magi had watched the stars for most of their lives. They felt there was much to learn from the bright celestial bodies which hung above them in the night sky.

So, when a new star made its appearance, the men were amazed by its brightness and wondered what it could mean. New stars didn’t just appear like this one had. It must foretell something wonderful. They had heard of the prophecy that a baby would be born and become King of the Jews, so they traveled to Jerusalem and inquired of King Herod where they could find the child, the one who would become King of the Jews. Herod was disturbed by this and asked the chief priests where this child was to be born. They answered, “Bethlehem”.  Herod instructed the Magi to go to Bethlehem, search for the child, and report his location to him. They followed Herod’s instructions and proceeded to Bethlehem, following the bright star in the sky.

Upon reaching the place where Jesus was, the three fell to their knees to pay homage to this special child. They offered their gifts of incense, gold and myrrh, humbled by the privilege to be witness to such a momentous occasion. They were informed in a dream not to return to Herod and returned to their homeland by a different route.

We hear no more of the three wise men in silk robes bearing gifts. Their story is all the more remarkable that they were Gentiles.  Perhaps this was a foretelling of the Gentiles receiving the Good News of salvation through Jesus. Christ came not only to the Jews, but to all people. We serve an inclusive God.

There are times in our lives when we are all set to go one way but circumstances take us in another direction. This can be frustrating and unsettling, but if we trust God to guide our path, we will eventually see the path we needed to follow all along. God’s plans are often revealed over time, and we in retrospect finally see the pattern of God’s work. Our job is to be obedient in the meantime.

Matthew 2:1-12After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi  from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “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.”When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.” Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Debra Ison