The sincerity of the magi’s worship of Jesus is contrasted with Herod’s insincere pledge to worship Jesus.
Matthew 2:1-12 NIV
The Magi Visit the Messiah
2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” 7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” 9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 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, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
What do the star, the magi, the gifts, the hostility, and the prophecy teach about the significance of Jesus?
The story of the magi is usually read during the rush of Christmas and is often missed or is an afterthought. To read this during the summer gives me the opportunity to really soak in the significance that it brings. Your Glory is often shown in signs and wonders. That star is the light shining on those who dwell in darkness and it indicates that the Messiah has arrived. The magi symbolize our search for God and meaning in life. The gifts they brought proclaimed Jesus to be the King at birth. Gold is symbolic of Christ’s deity as King, frankincense represents His purity as Priest of God, and myrrh is suggestive of His anointed work as a Prophet and of His death. The sincerity of the magi’s worship of Jesus is contrasted with Herod’s insincere pledge to worship Jesus. From the very moment of Jesus' birth, there was tension in the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. Isaiah’s vision of salvation includes a pilgrimage of the nations, who will come to Israel’s light, to worship the God of Israel. The Gentile magi are to be understood as enacting the fulfillment of this prophecy. Lord, help me to pay attention and consider the signs and wonders that demonstrate Your power and authority over heaven and earth. Let me be drawn to Your light in this very dark world. I search for the meaning of life through You and You alone. I worship You as King of my life, of my country, of the world, and for all eternity. Let my life and everything in it be a gift to You, pointing others to You as Lord and Savior. There is still tension between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. Let me not be surprised that evil hates You and desires to destroy people, activity, or things that represent You. I pray that I heed Your voice of warning and that You protect me from evil. You have shown Your faithfulness to all generations. I trust that Your Word is true and speaks of the past, present and future. I look forward to the day when I can worship You with adoration and praise at the foot of Your eternal throne. You are my King and Lord, Amen