Galumph, galumph. The magi had been traveling for weeks. Nothing but sand under their feet and stars in the sky above. Though the heavens were scattered with twinkling stars, one stood out amongst them all. The star. The one leading them to the King of the Jews.
It would be unthinkable to come empty-handed. So, before setting out, they had contemplated what gifts would befit this king.
“Gold, of course,” confirmed one.
“Frankincense would honor his purity,” suggested another.
A third observed, “Great power brings great responsibility—and suffering. It is troublesome to be a ruler. Myrrh would sweeten his reign.”
So, it was settled. The magi were on their way, pursuing the mysterious star that had appeared many months before. By now the sky had darkened, and the guiding star directed them. Slowly they advanced, until they reached a humble abode on the outskirts of Bethlehem town.
Cautiously, they alighted from their saddles, and taking their costly cargo, made their way to the entrance. The carpenter Joseph invited them inside. The Child, asleep in His mother’s arms, soon awakened and with a wide-eyed expression watched the magi humbly bow before Him. They presented their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. For a few minutes, the room was filled with an unmistakable radiance. Slowly, the magi rose from their knees and, filled with wonder, stepped quietly out the door and into the night. • Jarm Del Boccio
• Today’s story is how one author imagines the events described in Matthew 2:1-12. Consider taking some time to read this passage for yourself and imagine what it might have been like for the magi to search for and find Jesus (probably months or years after his birth). What do you notice? What questions do you have?
• While the Bible doesn’t tell us a lot about the magi, some believe they were a priestly tribe of an ancient people called the Medes, in the part of the world where Iran and Iraq are now. The magi were very well educated in astronomy and mathematics and very powerful politically. One of the main jobs of the magi was to crown kings. So, by causing a star to rise, God led these ancient magi to proclaim Jesus as King, and their gifts reflect this. Why is it important for us to know that Jesus is the true King?
• How is Jesus different from other kings? (Hint: Read all of Matthew 2 and look at King Herod.)
• Have you ever wondered why the magi chose to bring gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Jesus? While the Bible doesn’t tell us specifically, we can find some interesting connections throughout Scripture (Exodus 30:6-9, 34-38; 30:22-33; 1 Kings 7:48-51). For example, the only other place in the Bible where we find the combination of myrrh and frankincense is in Song of Songs 4:6, 14 in the context of the king and his bride. Jesus is the King of Kings, and the church (all Christians everywhere) is His bride. Jesus came to “save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21) so that we could be forgiven and united with Him as His bride, and so that His good reign could extend over all creation. If you want to know more about this good news, check out our “Know Jesus” page.
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2 (NLT)