As the Sunday school classes made their presentations this year, like many adults who were in attendance, I sat back smiling and taking it all in. Once I was even moved to tears. Our theme this year was WISE MEN STILL SEEK HIM from Matthew 2:1-12. After the fourth or fifth presentation, I noticed a reoccurring theme developing. Sort of theme within the theme. It was WORSHIP. After seeing “His star” - the proof that the King of the Jews had been born, wise men followed it from the East all the way to Jerusalem, with one intention only: to worship Him.
That revelation made me look up other events surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ in the scriptures. I was looking for more instances of worship, and I found them. Mary’s song of worship after receiving the prophecy of His birth (Luke 1:46-55); the sounds of worship by the multitude of angels as they announced His birth (Luke 2:13-14); and the shepherd’s acts of worship after witnessing and testifying about His birth (Luke 2:20).
All that happened before the wise men began following the star. But after Jesus was born, the scriptures said they saw His star, followed it to Jerusalem, and after a meeting with King Herod, they continued following the star until rested over the place where Jesus was. Historians say that by that time, Jesus was about two years old and scriptures bear proof of this in Matthew 2:11, referring to Jesus as a young child, not a baby, and the location where they were as a house and not a manger.
More often than not, the portrayal of the wise men is usually centered around the gifts they presented to Jesus: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And much has been written about the spiritual purpose behind each gift: gold - a symbol of kingship on earth, frankincense (an incense) - a symbol of deity, and myrrh (an embalming oil) - a symbol of death.
Whenever they are portrayed in images of art, film, cards, etc. the wise men are either on camels traveling, or standing in a nativity scene each holding a gift in his hands. Very rare is the image of wise men bowed in worship, and in the few instances that they are, only one is bowed. The other two are always standing, and again, they’re holding the gifts in their hands. Some would say that their giving was an expression of worship, but take another look at the scriptures.
When they arrived in Jerusalem and stood before King Herod, they said, “We have come to worship Him” and when arrived at the house where Jesus was, “When they saw the young child, they fell down and worshipped Him”. The next verse begins, “Then after opening their treasure chests, they presented to Him gifts”.
Although they brought precious, costly, gifts with them to give the King, their first thought was to present themselves before the King and worship Him. They followed the star from the East, through Jerusalem, all the way to Bethlehem for one purpose: to worship Him. Not to receive a blessing. Not for fortune or fame. Not for healing, long life, or wisdom, or favor. But just to worship Him.
A subtle reminder to us that regardless of what gifts we have to offer Jesus, our primary reason for coming into His presence should be to worship Him.