January 23

Matthew 2:1-2, 11 1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

11On 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 and of incense and of myrrh.

The Magi came from the East. It seems most probable that they are from the area of ancient Babylon. They may have still had access to the ancient writings of Daniel, who himself was considered Magi (one of the wise men) serving the kings of that area. Daniel had predicted the time of the coming Messiah of the Jews. Knowing from those writings that the time was near, these men were probably waiting for a sign of His birth.

God gave them their cue. Upon coming to Jerusalem, they asked Herod where the new king was born. Paranoid Herod the Great inquired of the Jewish scholars who knew from the writings of the prophet Micah that the place of His birth would be Bethlehem. Herod feigned a desire to worship this new king also, and asked them to bring a report of where they found Him. He was actually planning to assassinate the King of kings.

God led the wise men to Joseph and family. Jesus was then a toddler. They did what they had traveled all that way to do. They worshipped Him. Then they presented the gifts: gold for a king, incense for a priest, and myrrh, which speaks of His death. (Isaiah 60 tells us He will be given the first two gifts at His second coming.) This toddler would be the ultimate fulfillment of King and priest and would die in our place. Daniel had predicted his death also. The money would finance the family's flight into Egypt, escaping the paranoia of Herod.

Consider how much effort and thought these men put into worshipping Jesus. Then, think about how much effort and thought goes into your expression of worship.