“When they [the wise men] saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” Mt. 2:10-11. (ESV)
This verse in Matthew contains the only account of the visit of the wise men. While many traditional accounts depict the visit occurring on the night of Jesus’ birth, a close examination of the Biblical story reveals that the visit probably took place some time later.
We know this because the visit takes place in a house, not a stable. Second, the word used here to refer to Jesus is different than the word used in Luke by the angel to describe a newborn baby. This is the word from which pediatrics is derived and is used to refer to an infant or small child, not a newborn.
It’s also interesting that only Mary and Jesus are mentioned, not Joseph. The visit may have occurred during the day while Joseph was away working to support his new family.
Finally, the account doesn’t actually give the number of wise men who made the journey. Wise men, or Magi were known to be members of groups of 12.
What these verses do record is the first clear example of religious men worshipping Jesus.
This was not a visit to acknowledge the birth of a religious leader.
This visit was to acknowledge the birth of the Son of God.
These wise men acknowledged Jesus as God first through their worship and then through their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
They came to give and not to get.
They came to give their worship and extravagant gifts to Jesus. They left filled with joy, having found and served their Lord.
The wise men remain an example for us today. They exemplify the need to make the necessary journey to seek and find God. They also show us how to come solely to worship Him and give Him what meager gifts we have.
These wise men found great joy in their journey to worship the Lord.
Great joy also awaits us as we continue our journey to worship Him.
Prayer: Lord I bow worshipping before You and give myself to You.