The Wise Men Come

 

After Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary stayed on in Bethlehem, for they did not want to travel with the newborn baby. One night, soon after the birth, three strangers appeared in the little town. They were richly dressed and it was clear they did not come from anywhere near Judea. 

They had come from a land far to the east. They were men of great learning and wisdom, and had spent many years studying the stars and the mysteries of the world. One night they had seen a new and magnificent star shining in the sky. They knew what it meant that a great king was born in the world and that the star would lead them to the newborn king. 

The Wise Men decided to follow the star, so they might see this king and learn what He meant to the world. Their journey was long and hard. At last they came to the land of Judea. Thinking that everyone in the land would know of the new king, they asked, "Where is He that is born the king of the Jews? In the east we have seen His star; and we have come to worship Him." But no one they met had heard anything about a new king; they knew only that Herod still ruled the land under the Roman governor. 

Word came to Herod that these three impressive visitors were asking about a new king. He was worried, for he knew that he was not popular with his people. He called the priests and scribes, the men who studied and taught the things that were predicted in the Bible, and asked them what the prophets had predicted about a new king coming to Israel. They told Herod that it was predicted that "out of Bethlehem in the land of Judah shall come forth one who shall rule my people." 

Herod was frightened. He called for the three Wise Men and told them to find the child, so that he might also come and worship Him. But, of course, Herod was lying; he wanted to find the baby in order to destroy Him. 

The Wise Men set out, and soon found the star again, shining high in the heavens above the road to Bethlehem. They followed it to the stable where Jesus was born. When they saw the child they knew at once that this was the one they had sought. They knelt before Him and presented gifts of gold and of rare perfumes called frankincense and myrrh, which were used at that time in religious ceremonies. 

That same night, God warned the Wise Men in a dream not to return to Herod but to go back to their own land by a different road. Thus Herod did not find out where Jesus was. 

The coming of Christ had long been predicted among the Jews, but they believed He would be the Savior only of His own nation. The three Wise Men were the first men outside of Israel to know that Jesus had come for all men, and they were the first to see Him. 

 

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