Gifts from the Magi
August 1 - Nº 213 Luke 2:22-38; Matthew 2:1-13
God sent special people into the lives of Joseph and Mary to confirm that their baby was no ordinary child. When the young couple took their newborn to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as all Jewish parents were commanded to—see Exodus 13:1-2), they met a man at the Temple named Simeon. Simeon was a very righteous man, and the Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. That day, the Spirit prompted him to go to the Temple. When he saw Joseph and Mary, he knew why. He asked if he could hold their baby. As he held Jesus in his arms, he praised God saying, “Sovereign God, You have fulfilled Your promise. I can die in peace knowing I have seen your salvation!” There was also an elderly prophetess named Anna who lived in the Temple. She had served God there since her husband had passed away seven years after their marriage. That same day she approached Joseph and Mary and gave thanks to God for Jesus and announced that he was the One who had come to redeem Jerusalem. While Jesus was still a young child, Magi from a faraway country east of Israel came to visit him. These wise men were astronomers who studied the stars and researched ancient writings and prophecies. No doubt they had studied the prophecies Daniel had written when he lived in Persia. For centuries their investigations indicated that a Royal Redeemer would one day come to Israel. Suddenly they became aware of signs in the heavens that this amazing child had finally been born. They immediately set off on the long journey to find him. When they arrived in Israel, they went straight to the capital city of Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the child who is born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star when it arose and have come to worship him.” King Herod, the puppet ruler Rome had assigned to Israel, was not happy to discover that the Jews were expecting another king. So he came up with a plan to get rid of the baby. He called the Jewish priests and teachers together and asked if they knew where their Messiah was to be born. They showed him Micah’s prophecy that their ruler would come from Bethlehem (see Micah 5:2). King Herod asked the Magi exactly when the star had appeared and then sent them to Bethlehem. He instructed them to bring him word once they found the child. He pretended that he wanted to worship the new king, too. The star that they had originally seen, showed up again and guided the Magi to the house where Joseph, Mary and the young child now lived. When they saw Jesus, they bowed down and worshiped. They gave him expensive gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. God warned them in a dream not to return to Jerusalem, so they traveled home another way. That night, an angel woke Joseph and warned him that King Herod was planning to kill Jesus. He told Joseph to take Mary and the child immediately and escape to Egypt while they could! They left that night.
When people are introduced to Jesus, they ultimately respond in one of two ways: they choose to bow down and worship him as their Messiah (as the shepherds and Magi did), or they reject him (as King Herod did). Which choice have you made? Are you worshiping him as your Savior and King?