Several years ago, my family and I were privileged to attend a special Christmas musical presentation in the huge, outdoor amphitheater at SIX FLAGS OVER TEXAS! To this day it is still, without question, the single most impressive Christmas musical presentation I have ever seen.
I remember well, sitting in freezing weather with my family as we watched the greatest story ever told, portrayed with a fabulous musical score and fascinating sets, amazing animals and first-class actors. Besides the obvious, one of the more moving portions of the presentation was the entrance of the wise men. To characterize it as spectacular would be an understatement. They were royal in their regalia, stately in their stride, and magnificent in the giving of their gifts to the King.
There were three wise men in the presentation at Six Flags. But in Scripture, no specific number is given. Biblical scholars tell us there were probably more than three. (The number three most likely comes from the fact they brought three gifts.) The Biblical wise men were not kings, either. Rather, they were Magi, magicians or astrologers with a knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures. They also came to see Jesus, long after He had been born in a manger, in a stable, in Bethlehem. By the time they arrived, Jesus, Mary and Joseph were in a house. (See Matthew 2:11.)
You remember the story. The wise men came to Jerusalem asking for the “King of the Jews.” Herod found out about it and had the wise men brought to him under the guise he wanted to worship this new King. The truth of the matter was, Herod was so jealous, he was going to have the new King killed. History records, when the wise men failed to return, Herod sent an order that every male child, two years of age and younger, living in Bethlehem and the surrounding area, be killed. By the time Herod’s evil edict was enacted, Joseph and his young family were long gone to Egypt where they stayed until Herod was dead.
Back to the wise men.
I don’t want us to miss the point here. These men, regardless of how many there were, left a lasting legacy for all of us. These were men who were prepared to worship the King. (Something we would all do well to emulate as we enter the Christmas season.)
They came prepared to do three things:
(1) To get a glimpse of the King. They wanted to see Him. Matthew said, “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy” (Matthew 2:10). They couldn’t wait to see the King.
(2) To give their lives to the King. They wanted to submit to Him. Matthew tells us when they saw Him they “fell down and worshiped Him” (Matthew 2:11b).
(3) To give their gifts to the King. They wanted to serve Him. Matthew says, “When they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11c).
As we enter this Christmas season, unfortunately, many modern-day Herods can be seen all around us, still trying to silence the King. The perennial push to eliminate God from the Pledge of Allegiance, opposition to football coaches praying with their teams or having a public prayer at football games, resistance to saying the name JESUS at any public event or the ongoing efforts of the ACLU to remove nativity scenes and any Christmas carols that mention the name of JESUS from public schools and courthouses, just to name a few.
We know where the Herods are. They’re hiding in plain sight. My question is, where are all the wise men and women? Where are the people who, like the Magi of old, can’t wait to get a glimpse of the King, give their lives to the King and give their gifts to the King?
This Christmas season, the wisest thing we can do is show how much JESUS means to us. The whole world will be watching ... even the Herods among us. And who knows? Maybe what they see in us will cause them to become wise men, too! (1 Peter 2:12).
© 2021. Barry L. Cameron. All rights reserved.