Key Verse: “After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”
—Matthew 2:11, New American Standard Bible
THE SCENE UNVEILED IN our Key Verse is iconic in Christian belief. Wise men from the east sought the Babe born in Bethlehem. Finding him, they bowed to the ground and worshiped, presenting gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. We do not know for certain what their religious heritage was. Regardless of this, God gave them to understand this monumental event, and they exhibited faith that the sign of the star would lead them to the newborn king.
Although God deals in a very special way with his chosen people, there are those outside the pale of the chosen ones who also receive favor from God. For example, Melchizedek, king of Salem, was used of God although he was not of the lineage of Abraham. (Gen. 14:18-20) Likewise, the Prophet Balaam, who was a Midianite, was used of the Lord for a specific purpose. Despite this man’s waywardness and eventual conspiracy against Israel, he was inspired to prophesy of the coming Savior. He declared, “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; A star shall come forth from Jacob, A scepter shall rise from Israel.”—Num. 24:17, NASB
Perhaps this prophecy of a star and the coming of the Savior was known to the wise men. It may be that this inspired their search for Jesus. Whatever signs or sources they had studied, it was God who led them to the young child by his own method. They first came to Herod who, upon hearing the reason for their journey, tried to use the wise men as agents to find the favored child. He sent them to Bethlehem saying, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.” (Matt. 2:8, NASB) Worship, however, was not what Herod had in mind. Rather, it was murder.
When the wise men left Herod, “the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.” (vss. 9,10, NASB) Their gifts were very appropriate for this special child. Gold was given in recognition of his kingly office, frankincense in association with his praise and offering up of himself, and myrrh for the sufferings he would experience.
After finishing their tribute, the wise men departed by a way that God directed. “Being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.” (vs. 12) We rejoice to realize that God guided them on their journey to find Jesus, overruled their meeting with him, and directed their path as they departed from his presence. So it is with us as faithful seekers of the King. We see the paths in our lives that eventually led us to him. We experienced the joy of meeting with him by faith. Our paths are blessed and directed of the Lord as we go forth to serve him in life. Wise men, imbued with knowledge given by God, still seek him. Let us ever be faithful seekers of our Lord and Master, Christ Jesus.