Today we learn more about the Magi as they seek out the Messiah, and what king Herod has to do with it all.
Normally, this would be when we would add more onto our memory verse. It comes as no surprise that this time of year is very busy for us. With that, we’ve gotten a little behind over here on our advent study.
I think that means we need to slow down a little! We’re going to wait until tomorrow to add the next part, but here it is if you want to get a preview:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness…”
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.Matthew 2:7-12, NIV
What should you teach them?
Here’s what I tell my kids:
- Yesterday, we were introduced to the Magi. We know that they are astronomers/astrologers and that they have seen a bright star in the sky which they interpret to be a sign that the Jewish Messiah-king is in Judea. They traveled to Jerusalem and met with the king, Herod, because they assumed that if anyone knew more about the new king, it would be him.
- Not only did Herod not seem to know about the star, but he was not excited to hear about this new king! In fact, him and a lot of other people in Jerusalem were troubled about it. Herod’s consulted his scholars to find out what they knew about this Messiah king. They said they knew he was to be from Bethlehem.
- After consulting his own men, Herod then secretly meets with the Magi to find out exactly when the star appeared. He tells the Magi to find the baby and then report back to him. He says that he wants to worship the new Messiah too.
- After everything we know about Herod, do you believe him when he says that he wants to worship Jesus?
- The Magi follow the bright star and it leads them to a house. Inside the house they find Jesus with his mother, Mary. They bowed down and began to worship him! Isn’t it interesting that these men were wise enough to worship the Messiah, even though they probably weren’t Jewish? If only Herod could have been as excited about his birth as these men were!
- We don’t know how many Magi came to Judea following the star. We do see here that they brought with them three very expensive gifts. These three gifts are where the tradition that there were three of them comes from. Three gifts, three wise men.
- The three gifts are gold, frankincense and myrrh. These gifts are fit for a king and they are also gifts fit for a priest. Frankincense and myrrh are both types of perfumed oils used by priests. The priests also used an altar made from gold.
- Frankincense, myrrh and gold are mentioned many times in the Bible, more times than I can list here. There are entire studies done on the symbolism of these gifts. For us today, it is enough to say that Jesus is our priest and our king and that is why these gifts were very fitting for him.
- The Magi were warned in a dream not to report back to Herod once they had found the child. The scripture doesn’t tell us anything about this dream other than that it warned the Magi not to go back to Herod. The Magi found a different way to get back to their homeland, so that Herod would not know where to find Jesus.
- As always, this is our time of prayer.