We’ve looked at the birth announcements and the births of John the Baptist and Jesus the first two weeks. Now we look at what happened after the birth of Jesus. We look at some of the visitors that came to see Him.
Why would God communicate through the stars with Magi from an eastern country? What does their visit tell us about God’s plan to save the world? … Magi are wise men from the east. They are probably astrologers, people who study the stars. It seems odd that these Magi would come to visit Jesus. … There is a lot about the Magi that we do not know. We don’t know if there were only three of them or more, or maybe even less. They may or may not have been kings.
The Magi come to Jerusalem and visit King Herod to ask him where the newborn King was. Herod, a very disturbed man, did not like that a new king was born who might overthrow him. Herod had his own son killed when his son became popular. He also had a few wives killed. … So, Herod plots to kill the child. He consults his people who would know where the Messiah was to be born and sent the Magi on their way with instructions to return to him and tell him where to find the baby. Herod said he would worship the baby, but his real motive was murder.
The Magi followed the directions given and then followed the star to the precise location of the baby. When they arrived, they bowed down. The phrase “bow down” is not what we might see on tv when characters “bow down.” The phrase here means they fell on their faces. These Magi were laying down, prostrate, in front of a bay, the Messiah.
Before the Magi could return to Herod, an angel told them to not go to Herod. An angel also appeared to Joseph and told him to take Mary and Jesus to avoid Herod’s wrath. When Herod realized the Magi were not returning to him, he ordered all boys young enough to be the Messiah according to the Magi, in Bethlehem to be killed. A terrible massacre of young boys occured.
Once Herod died, an angel appeared Joseph again, saying they could return to Israel. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus had a detour early in their family life. Many of us also face detours in our lives as we try to become who we are meant to be. This detour retraced the journey of the Israelites in the Old Testament.
They plan on returning to Bethlehem, but they heard the worst of Herod’s sons was ruling there and decided to return to Nazareth, which is where they were before all of this happened. It’s amazing how God uses everyone to ensure that Jesus is born in Bethlehem, as the prophecies say, and that he would grow up in and be from Nazareth, as the prophecies say.
God is telling us that Jesus is a worldwide Savior. He came to save all people from all nations, all backgrounds, and all religions.
God reaches out to people in ways they can understand. For the Magi, it was a star. For others it might be dreams or another person. The possibilities are limitless.
There are three responses in this passage to the news that a King has been born:
Hostility … Herod is against Jesus, sees Jesus as a threat, and wants to get rid of Him. Even today He still threatens the lifestyles of people living in sin.
Indifference … The religious leaders and scribes told the Magi where to go and did not go themselves. These are the people you would expect to be most excited to see what they’ve been studying their whole lives.
Worship … The least likely people in this story to worship the Messiah are the ones to do it. The Magi come and fall down and worship the Messiah and give Him gifts.