At Christmas time, we spend much time discussing Christ, his birth, the purpose for his birth, etc. And then there are all the peripheral stories surrounding the arrival of the prophesied Messiah. Mary and Joseph, the virgin birth, Bethlehem, a manger birth, etc.
One that I’ve been thinking about a bit, this season, is the story of the Magi, who came with gifts for the King of the Jews, from the east. They’re often referred to as the three kings, even in the Middle Ages, names were given to them; Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar. Often one of them is pictured as an African, most likely an Ethiopian.
I’m not hear to peal away the myths and legends, from what the Bible does say about these men. I simply want to look at the larger plot line, that to me is a clear example of God taking something bad and bringing glory to himself afterwards.
Quite some time back, Israel was conquered, and the bulk of the Hebrews were deported to Babylon. It was here that we get stories of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. We also can learn about Daniel the prophet and his interactions with the King and other leaders of the empire. There were a higher class of men who were seriously in to astrology, astronomy, and prophecy. These men were called Magi. It’s where we get our words magic and magician. Without delving too deep into their history and involvement with the Babylonians and Persians, there were simply a highly respected class of educated men.
It is also known that Daniel had interactions with them, and more than likely taught them the Holy Scriptures, and possibly even left copies with them, to endure through the ages.
Fast forward to the birth of the prophesied Messiah, and a band of Magi, who had studied the works of many religions throughout the Middle East, knew of the upcoming arrival of the King of the Jews, and wanted to at least come pay their respects. And so they did.
Here’s the overarching story. The children of God sinned, and experienced generations of consequences for their treachery. Much of that was being cast from their home, Israel. In being foreigners in a foreign land, they had ups and downs, but were mostly persecuted. Being cast from your home is painful and has lasting effects. Yet, God would be glorified!
Generations later, God brought these Magi to come worship His Son, the King of the Jews, and of the whole world.
Thank you Lord for always following through on your promises.