This Day in History: 0000-12-10

December 10 – Isaiah 60:1-3 & 6

Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see. For the glory of the Lord rises to shine on you. Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth, but the Glory of the Lord rises and appears over you. All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see your radiance.
Vast caravans of camels will converge on you, the camels of Midian and Ephah. The people of Sheba will bring gold and frankincense and will come worshiping the Lord.

There are a few prophesies covered in these verses from Isaiah, we looked at the first one yesterday, and today we’ll examine the second.

The Prophesies –

  1. The “glory of the Lord” would rise over Jerusalem at the coming of Messiah
  1. Mighty kings would come in caravans bringing gifts of gold and frankincense to worship the Messiah after seeing the star.

Today we’re talking about the visit of the Magi, and the gifts they brought to Jesus shortly after His birth. Here is another passage that deals with that prophesy.

Psalms 72:9-11 – Desert nomads will bow before Him; his enemies will fall before Him in the dust. The western kings of Tarshish and other distant lands will bring Him tribute. The eastern kings of Sheba and Seba will bring Him gifts. All kings will bow before Him, and all nations will serve Him.

The Fulfillment –

Matthew 2:1-12 – 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, “Where is the newborn King of the Jews? We saw His star as it rose, and we have come to worship Him…”
After this interview [with Herod] the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with His mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.

Just as the prophets had foretold, these desert nomads from the east – wise men and kings – came to see the radiance of the baby Jesus. They bowed before Him, just as the Scriptures had said they would, and offered to Him rich gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh in tribute. The very gifts the ancient writings had promised would be brought.

Isn’t that incredible?

I really don’t have the space, or the extensive study and understanding to fully cover the significance of the star and the Magi, but there are plenty of others who have. If you’re fascinated by their story, spend some time reading about it. Our God is incredible, and the more I’ve read in preparation for this study, the more I’ve been astonished at how intricately He works!

These noble men who came to worship Jesus were not Jews. They were not part of the group of people who had been given the prophesies we’re discussing this month. They hadn’t been commanded by God to watch diligently for the coming of the promised Messiah, as the Hebrews had. Yet God didn’t leave them out of His story.

The world wasn’t expecting this noble caravan of Gentiles to come bearing precious treasures and present them to a seemingly insignificant baby, scandalously conceived to an unwed mother, born in a stable, and living in poverty. And yet, there they were. Because, though He may have seemed unlikely and insignificant to the world, these men had been waiting for Him. They were ready. And as they bowed low before Him, THEY knew it was the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords they were worshiping!

Friends, we’ve been commanded to be diligently waiting for the second coming of Jesus. Will we be ready like the wise men were, or will we be caught unprepared, distracted, and complacent as the Jewish leaders were? As we celebrate the first coming of our Lord this Christmas, may our eagerness for His second coming increase each time we see a representation of that star, or the figures of the Magi! May we always be ready!