A Revealed Savior
by Katherine Britton
"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." - Jeremiah 29:13
I wish I could ask the Magi what it was like after they returned to their homeland. After watching the skies for years, journeying for weeks, and seeing Jesus with their own eyes, how did they return to the life they once knew? Did they ever hear about the rest of Jesus's life? Did they realize the Jew who was killed on the tree was the same child to whom they offered gifts befitting a king? Did they understand that his birth was a precursor to a far greater event?
We don't know much with certainty about these men. They brought three gifts—gold, incense, and myrrh—but there may have been dozens of Magi who went on that journey. These wise men were certainly Gentiles, probably from Persia. They acted as something close to astrologer-priests in their homeland, we think, marking the movements of the heavens to find out its impact on man. Judging by their gifts and their titles, their status and wealth came close to royalty.
Now consider what we definitely know about them: these Magi considered it worth their time, efforts, riches, and worship to come worship at a Bethlehem house.
"When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh." - Matthew 2:10-11
These pagans searched for the Messiah as no one else did. Their adventure is an extraordinary tale of God's grace mixed with man's hunger, as they followed the star God set up in the heavens with single-minded devotion. They were on a search for God, who had given them the signs to find him. I think these men, who knew so much less than I do about the Messiah, sought him harder than I ever have.
Consider Matthew Henry's commentary on what transpired:
"They might have said, ‘If such a prince be born, we shall hear of him shortly in our own country, and it will be time enough then to pay our homage to him.' But so impatient were they to be better acquainted with him, that they took a long journey on purpose to enquire after him. Note, Those who truly desire to know Christ, and find him, will not regard pains or perils in seeking after him."
Personally, I don't think the Magi were ever the same after their encounter in the Bethlehem house. They invested themselves to finding the King of the Jews, and he revealed himself to them. I think all other stars must have paled in comparison.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Like the psalmist sings, the "heavens declare the glory of God" (Psalms 8) to each one of us. Those signs are God calling us to seek him with our whole heart, so he can reveal himself to us more and more. This Christmas season, I want to follow the Magi's example. I want to find the mystery of the Gospel so incredible that I pursue it with all my heart, and all my strength, and all my soul. I pray this mystery captivates your heart this Christmas!
The Characters of Christmas is a podcast created to help you take a fresh look at the Christmas story by getting to know the minor characters that played a part in Jesus’ birth. It is the companion to Dan Darling's book "The Characters of Christmas: The Unlikely People Caught Up in the Story of Jesus."