The Wise Men
When Jesus was born in the village of Bethlehem in Judea, Herod was king. During this time some wise men from the east came to Jerusalem and said, “Where is the child born to be king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard about this, he was worried, and so was everyone else in Jerusalem. Herod brought together the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses and asked them, “Where will the Messiah be born?”
They told him, “He will be born in Bethlehem, just as the prophet wrote,
‘Bethlehem in the land
you are very important
among the towns of Judea.
From your town
will come a leader,
who will be like a shepherd
for my people Israel.’ ”
Herod secretly called in the wise men and asked them when they had first seen the star. He told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, let me know. I want to go and worship him too.”
The wise men listened to what the king said and then left. And the star they had seen in the east went on ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. They were thrilled and excited to see the star.
When the men went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they knelt down and worshiped him. They took out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh and gave them to him. Later they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, and they went back home by another road.
They came a long way to see Jesus, an arduous journey, but they were determined.
How out of place they must have looked. Apparently wealthy, men of learning and study, but they knew this was important and so they searched and followed the signs.
How unlikely that a King, for that is what they knew him to be, would be born, not in the palace, but in a backwater; not in luxury but into an ordinary life.
God didn’t come into the world to live apart. He came to live an ordinary life – to live the life of you or I. Jesus understands what it is to be human – that is why his life is such a gift.
Whatever we come up against, Jesus has been there. He was homeless, harassed, persecuted; he had to work, eat, sleep.
Jesus was very special, but very ordinary. God didn’t save him from the mundane things of life, he lived it all.
This is God, here with us now, here in the world.
I followed where they led.
And in a hovel rude,
With naught to fence the weather from his head
The King I sought for meekly stood;
A naked hungry child
Clung round his gracious knee,
And a poor hunted slave looked up and smiled
To bless the smile that set him free;
New miracles I saw his presence do,
No more I knew the hovel bare and poor,
The gathered chips into a woodpile grew
The broken morsel swelled to goodly store.
I knelt and wept: my Christ no more I seek.
His throne is with the outcast and the week.
“His Throne is with the outcast” by James Russell Lowell