Our nativity scenes with the shepherds and Wiseman all present at Jesus’ birth are not actually accurate. The shepherds received the message from the host of angels and went in search of Jesus the night of his birth. Luke 2. However, the wise men did not appear for about 2 years after Jesus’ birth. They saw the star announcing his birth, studied what this star could mean and then decided to follow it. The journey from Persia would have taken months. Their story is recorded in Matthew 2:1-8.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”
3 King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. 4 He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”
5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:
6 ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah,
are not least among the ruling cities of Judah,
for a ruler will come from you
who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. 8 Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”
Our story has several important players that impacted Joseph, Mary and Jesus. Herod also known as Herod the Great was an evil king who was a controlling, power hungry, non-Jew put in power by the Roman Senate in 40, B.C. He was known to have murdered his wife, his three sons, his brother-in-law and many others. He was ruthless and would do anything to protect his reign. There were the Wise men who were learned scholars seeking truth and this new king who’s birth was announced in the stars. And there were the Jewish scholars who served Herod who knew the Old Testament prophecies about the coming Messiah King. The arrival of the Magi, or Wise Men, in Jerusalem would have created quite a stir and their message was one to put fear into jealous Herod’s mind and heart.
I have always wondered why Herod did not send soldier right then to seek out this ‘king’ but his hesitancy was God’s provision to protect Mary, Joseph and young Jesus. It allowed the Wise Men to find Jesus, worship him and present him with gifts. It allowed time for the young family to escape Herod’s grasp and for the Wise Men, we’ll see, to not be involved with evil Herod’s plans.
Where do you see God’s providential care in your life? Has He rescued, provided or comforted you in some way in 2021? I can only imagine the story the Wise Men had to tell when they returned home about the child king who God protected. What story do you have to tell about God’s provision? It is yours to proclaim and is irrefutable proof of God’s hand in your life. Speak up about God and His loving care for you.