Written in 1857 for a Christmas pageant in New York City, the carol, “We Three Kings” tells the story of the magi, or wise men, who traveled to Jerusalem from the east. Although Scripture does not specifically say that there were three wise men, Christmas tradition, including carols and Nativity scenes, picture three regal looking men who followed a star in search of the newborn King of Israel. This is likely because Scripture says that these wise men brought three gifts to present to this newborn King – gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Although we don’t know the actual number of wise men, we do know that they succeeded in their star-led quest to find the One they were looking for, Jesus. The wise men did not find Jesus lying in a manger in a stable. When they found the place where Jesus was, Scripture refers to Jesus not as a newborn baby, but as a child (Matthew 2:9), which would indicate that Jesus was no longer an infant. And Matthew 2:11 says that the wise men entered a house, not a stable.
However, the number of wise men that followed the star, Jesus’ age when they found Him, and the place in which they found Jesus are not important. What is important is what the wise men did when they found Jesus and the significance of the gifts that they brought Him. The star that the wise men had been following came to rest over the place where Jesus was. When they saw this, the wise men were filled with joy. And when they entered the house and saw the child, they fell to their knees and worshiped Him.
The wise men knew that this small child was the newborn King of Israel and so they gave Him the honor and glory that was due Him. What an example this is for us. When we come to know Jesus and when we are in His presence, our response should be to take a posture of worship, praising Him and giving Him glory and honor. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, our Savior, and our Deliverer. He is worthy of all the praise that we can give.
After the wise men worshiped Jesus, they offered Him the gifts that they had brought, gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. There is a beautiful significance to these gifts. Jesus is the King of kings and gold is a gift that is fit for a King. Jesus is also the chief high priest. Frankincense was a fitting gift, as it is one of the incenses used by high priests in temple services. Jesus is Savior and Redeemer and came to give His life for us by dying on the cross, making myrrh a fitting gift as it is used in preparing a body for burial.
The gifts that the wise men offered were quite valuable. In offering them to Jesus, they gave us an example of giving our best as we worship Him. As we get ready to celebrate His birth this Christmas season, may our offerings of praise and worship be fitting for the King of kings and Lord of lords. The One who came to earth as a tiny child who would one day give His all for us deserves nothing less than our all.