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The Magi (Part 2)

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11)
The star that led the Magi reappears over Bethlehem and they follow it and find the house. Bethlehem was a quiet, agricultural and respectably Jewish village. Imagine the entourage of the Magi arriving: two worlds are colliding.
The Magi enter and see Mary and the child. They bow down and worship him and offer him gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. What’s going on here? God’s good news is being revealed to those who are not of the Jewish faith. Matthew is hinting at something that will become clear with Jesus’ final words: ‘Go and make disciples of all nations . . .’ In cinema terms the visit of the Magi is a like a trailer for a forthcoming feature – the new, global world of the church.
The Magi are also models for faith.

  • They searched for Jesus. The Magi’s journey to faith – perhaps their journey of faith – was not easy. If they came from Babylon, their journey would have taken them forty days. If you are searching for Jesus, take encouragement from this; your road may be long but if you persist you will find him.
  • They were overjoyed at encountering Jesus. We read that when they saw the star they were overjoyed. And for all the problems that may come with turning to Christ, this pattern remains. To find Jesus is to find joy.
  • They worshipped Jesus. As the Magi kneeled before the infant we have no idea what was going through their minds. They knew very little about who he was, but they bowed down and worshipped him.
  • They offered Jesus gifts. Putting aside any symbolic interpretation of the gifts we can simply see this action as them giving him what was costly to them. We cannot offer Jesus cheap discipleship.

We must give him what he is worth. Not just in treasure, but also with our time and talents. In 1872 Christina Rossetti wrote ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’. The last verse reads:
           ‘What can I give Him, poor as I am?
           If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
           If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
           Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.’
The Magi are models for us: to search for Jesus, to experience joy, to worship and to offer him what we have and are to him.