Magi were known to be astrologers, which explains why God used a star to guide them to Jesus. He knew how He could get their attention. As astrologers, it’s very possible the Wise Men we include in our nativities at Christmas were sorcerers who interpreted omens and signs to gain power. There are many theories about the ethnicity and background of these men from the East, but there’s one thing we know for sure: They were not Jews. They were Gentiles.
For centuries, people assumed the Savior would come specifically to deliver the Jews, God’s chosen people. It’s a reasonable assumption, because they were constantly persecuted by surrounding Gentile nations who worshipped false gods. If the One True God was coming to earth to establish His eternal Kingdom, surely it was for the sake of the Jews.
But when God reveals the significance of Jesus’ birth to the Magi, we get our first tangible glimpse of His desire to reconcile with the entire world, no matter our background or depth of depravity. This is an important moment, especially for those who are not of Jewish descent. While Jesus was born with a pure Jewish lineage and certainly came to redeem the ones He’d chosen from the start, He also came to bring all people back into relationship with their Creator.
In Acts 15, the apostle Paul acknowledges that the Holy Spirit no longer distinguishes between Jews and Gentiles. Anyone who has faith in Jesus has become a chosen child of God. Paul goes further in Colossians 3, saying, “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” Jesus made it clear in the Great Commission that He desired all nations to know Him. His heart is for the world!
Prayer: Jesus, thank You for coming to save a world that disowned You for so long. Thank You for wanting a relationship with me when I was completely unrighteous and separated from You. I know You love the entire world, and I want to be Your hands and feet continuing to reach out to those far from You. Use me to carry Your love to the nations.
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.”
King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”
“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:
‘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.”
Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. 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!”
After this interview 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.
At the meeting, after a long discussion, Peter stood and addressed them as follows: “Brothers, you all know that God chose me from among you some time ago to preach to the Gentiles so that they could hear the Good News and believe. 8God knows people’s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith.
In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.