The bible records that after Jesus was born in Bethlehem, “wise men came from the east to Jerusalem” (Matthew 2) These men were seeking the One who was born King of the Jews. Naturally they inquired at the palace of Herod the reigning King. When Herod heard that they were asking about a new king, he was troubled and so he asked his advisors where this King would be born. The scholars reminded him of Micah’s prophecy: ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are no longer least among the princes of Judah; for out of you shall come a Governor, who will shepherd My people Israel.’ Herod called the wise men and instructed them to go and look for the child and bring him word so that he could worship him as well.
The wise men left following the star that had brought them to Jerusalem. The star led them to the place where Jesus was staying at the time, and opening their treasures they presented the young child with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The gifts themselves were remarkable in that they represented offices that this new born babe would hold – king, priest and savior.
What was more remarkable, however, was that no one thought to follow the wise men to find the baby. You would think that the Chief Priests and Scribes whom Herod called would have been interested in finding the child. When Herod asked where the child would be born, they responded immediately, that Bethlehem was the place.These were the Jewish religious leaders who – along with their people – had been waiting hundreds of years for a Messiah. When He arrived they were not smart enough to put two and two together.Bethlehem was a small village, not far from Jerusalem but it would only be the wise men who would seek out the Holy Child; they and the Shepherds to whom the angels had appeared (Luke 2).
It is clear from this account that the people who had most to gain from the appearance of their King and who should have made haste to find Him, did not bother. Even Herod, who’s motive was evil and concerned solely with the preservation of his kingship, found it hard to seek the King himself. What would have happened if he did? We can only speculate.
The crux of this story is that wise men seek Jesus. In John 5:39-40, Jesus – now a grown man – told some Jewish leaders: “You search the Scriptures, because you think in them you have eternal life. These are they who bear witness of Me. Yet you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” If you are wise you will seek Jesus and if you do, you will find Him.
May you find the Christ of Christmas this holiday season!