THE VISIT OF THE MAGGI
1Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2saying,
“Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
3When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
5They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
6“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
7Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared.
8And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying,
“Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”
9After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.
11And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
12And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
These were Zoroastrian priests of the Kingdom of the Persians, modern Iran.
The Scripture does not say how many there were. Certainly, they were not kings, since they were priests of an eastern religion, founded by Zoroaster around 700 years before the birth of Lord Jesus. But it seems they had knowledge of the Jewish Scriptures, and even though they were not worshippers of the true God, they must have been morally righteous, because out of hundreds like them, who also worshipped Ahura-Mazda, and observed the stars, these were singled out by God to be guided to Jesus from such a far land.
The Incarnation was a unique event in the history of the universe and must have been received as such by the whole of creation. The Bible says that the whole of creation awaits our redemption, because it knows that it will also be their redemption (Romans 8:19-20). How much more would not have shown manifestations on the birth of the Savior as well as during his death and resurrection? (Matthew 27:51-52; Mark 15:33). And it did.
Heavenly signs must have demarked the birth of our Lord Jesus, because by watching the stars and planets, these Maggi, saw the ‘Star’ that God sent to them, but they must have known what that Star came for by relating this sign with the Jewish Messiah. This was impossible to determine through Scripture, but in their observation of the stars and planets, they must have noted things that were unusual which they identified with the coming of a great one.
Their coming represents the invitation of God to the gentiles, from all over the planet, and the righteous of heart (Acts 10:34-35; Romans 2:6-8), and so He showed the way to these chosen pagans, from many, to be accepted by Jesus at his birth.
They came not as curious, or to hurt our Lord. They came with a believing heart, and brought presents with them, myrrh, incense and gold, which indicated that they acknowledged Jesus to be of Royal blood from the House of David, and also God.
In ancient times, Gold was offered as a recognition of royalty, myrrh as an oil to anoint the coronation of Kings, which tells us that the Maggi not only recognized Jesus as the King of the Jews, but that they also submitted to his majesty.
But also, they brought incense. An offering to gods in their religion.
Since they believed in many minor gods and avatars, they recognized in baby Jesus the incarnation of the God of Israel.
Not much is said from these men, and traditions were born from much speculation. However, it is impossible to meet Jesus and remain the same. People either seal their condemnation or their salvation but are never the same.
These men, accounting by their attitude, they must have become believers in Jesus, and returned to their own country to preach of Lord Jesus to the far East.
From his very birth, LORD JESUS CHRIST came redeeming people, gentiles as well as the Jewish shepherds, to welcome the whole humanity into the Kingdom of God.
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