2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a
] from the east came to Jerusalem 2 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."3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 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. 5 "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.’[b
]"7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 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."
9 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.
Just A Thought...
We aren't told the exact number of wise men nor are we given their names. The general thought is that there were three Magi, wise men. This is because we know that they gave three gifts and it was assumed that each gave one gift.. Whatever their names, and whatever their number, they were most likely Magi from Persia.They would have been astrologers. They knew there had been a king born to the Jewish people because they saw his star rise, and they followed it to Judea. They logically traveled to the capitol city of Jerusalem and entered the royal household of King Herod. It was an accepted custom for royalty to visit royalty while travelling through their kingdom. And since they were looking for a king .Where else would you go but to the king? Upon meeting Herod they asked, "Where is he who is born "king of the Jews?" The chief priests of the Jews told them that according to the prophecies, the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem.
They followed their star to Bethethlehem. After paying homage and worshiping Jesus, the Magi are warned in a dream not to return to Herod and they return home another way. It's generally accepted thought that they returned home a different way because for their safety. The nativity and the passion of Christ are inseparably bound together. How can we look upon the manger without seeing the cross? The story of the one who was born and died as the King of the Jews, is the story of how much God loves us. The Magi didn't know the whole story of Jesus but yet once they met him they could return the same way they had come. The same thing is true for us once we meet and know Jesus our lives are never the same and we can't turn back!
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, We ask that your love touch our hearts so that we can invite others to our journey with you! Amen
The symbolic meaning of the gifts.
Frankincense - made of gum from an Asian and African tree. It may be burned to produce aromatic smoke used in worship, and symbolizes divinity and prayer
Myrrh - bitter resin used in ancient times to anoint bodies before burial. It is a symbol of suffering and death, foretelling Christ’s giving of self through death.