Day 26

Wise Men Visit the King

Matthew 2:1-23, Jeremiah 31:15-20

BY Kaitlin Wernet

My dad loves to tell the story of how, when I was a little girl, he asked me to pick out a new figurine to accompany Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus in my mom’s Christmas nativity scene. As the story goes, I overlooked the shepherds and wise men to choose a barnyard cat. It’s funny what happens when it’s up to flawed humans to prepare for the arrival of a perfect King.

However, some people are quick to point out that the wise men don’t really belong in our nativity scenes anymore than my barnyard cat does. And Matthew indicates that they didn’t arrive until some two years after Jesus’s birth (see Matthew 2:16). He wasn’t a babe in a manger when they got to Bethlehem; He was a toddler. But these wise men from the east belong in our Christmas stories all the same, because Jesus came for the whole world.

After arriving in Jerusalem, the wise men were sent by King Herod to inspect the Christ child. It’s difficult to pinpoint their exact occupations, but some theologians believe they were court magicians who served as priests, perhaps from Persia or Babylon. While we may not know exactly who these men were, it’s easy to assume they weren’t being sent by Herod to worship the boy. Herod’s plan was to kill the Christ child. He wanted the wise men to follow the star, find the young King in Bethlehem, and report back promptly so that he could carry out his plan. But that’s not what happened at all. In fact, quite the opposite occurred:

When they saw the star, they were overwhelmed with joy. Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their own country by another route (Matthew 2:10–12).

They didn’t return to Herod. Theologian Matthew Henry calls this series of events “an early instance and presage of Christ’s victory over the devil” as the men, some of Jesus’s earliest devotees, became “wise men indeed when they set themselves to enquire after the Christ.”

This is what happens when imperfect people witness the divine nature of Christ. By His light, we are rerouted, never to be the same again. The Messiah in the manger was not the sort of king God’s people had expected. Nevertheless, He was the Father’s plan to change the course of humanity, and ultimately, rescue the hearts and souls of all who would believe in Him. May we do the same. May we turn to Jesus and worship Him with undivided hearts. May we follow the only God who is truly wise (Romans 16:27). Amen.

Post Comments (50)

50 thoughts on "Wise Men Visit the King"

  1. Betsy Pittman says:

    “The Messiah in the manger was not the sort of king God’s people had expected.” I think about this so frequently. No one expected a tiny babe to be the coming Saviour of the world. If asked what they anticipiated to fix their giant problems, I imagine an infant wouldn’t have come to mind at all. In all likelihood, they would’ve have described someone of strength and wealth with power.

    When we have problems that need solving in this world, we so often look for best “man” for the job, the perfect fit, the one that makes sense but all too often great storylines don’t come from that. They come from counting on the least of the choices, from the unexpected. Maybe that’s why my heart has always pulled for the underdog. Deep down it reminds me of the Christ babe. We are no different than the folks of that day, when our difficulties may look massive, when our circumstances seem like they need something grand to correct them, when our deep holes are too big, we can’t see beyond their size. It boxes in our thinking … big problems need big solutions. I find great comfort in remembering that God sent a wee, vulnerable child to correct the biggest debt established. No matter what the view of my life may be, I know God will be faithful in it. I shouldn’t get overwhelmed with the size of my problems. I shouldn’t feel like I am small and powerless against them. Just as a soft lullaby can calm a restless child, God’s corrections and victories tend to come like the sweetest balm, where with one soft hush on the wind the entire world and all its problems are subdued. ~ B

  2. Sam says:

    I’m not sure I agree He was a toddler when they arrived. I thought Matthew 2:16 indicated it was 2 years since Herod had spoken to the wise men. Or maybe I just really want Him to be a sweet little babe. haha. Anyone else have insight?

    1. Rachel Schultz says:

      Matthew 2:11 says “upon entering the home,” scholars have used that as a context clue for when they could have arrived. It wasn’t at the manger for sure. It probably took them 2 years to travel to Bethlehem if they’re from Persia.

    2. Alexis Todd says:

      That really got to me, too! This is the first time I’ve understood it as Jesus being a toddler when the wise men arrived. I knew it would have taken them a few days at least, but “two years” blows me away. The related verses also make much more sense now. I love learning something new from everyone here❤️

    3. Carla Martin says:

      I agree with Susan. We were all raised with the wise men visiting a wee babe. But scripture does state that Herod targeted those two and under…..

  3. Bessie says:

    This morning’s devotion gave me a smile. My mother passed away in September and I’ve been missing her so much this Christmas. One of her famous statements was when we were caught in traffic going somewhere. She would say, “Let’s be like the wise men and go home a different way.”

    1. Megan Killen says:

      Haha what a cute saying. I love it!

      1. Donna Hethcock says:


    2. Alyssa Anthony says:


    3. Mari V says:

      Love it too. And would really appreciate prayers as I will be taking my sister to the SF airport Sunday night. I haven’t been there in so many years! I’ll be taking an easier route. Please pray for safe travels to and from. I’m a little nervous. And I don’t like driving at night.

    4. J B says:

      Oh my goodness, I love this!! ❤️

  4. Churchmouse says:

    I’m struck this morning by how God pays attention to detail. In today’s Scriptures I note how God fulfilled prophecies of old. Some were able to make the connection to Jesus. Some did not. Some searched long and hard for Him and upon discovery, fell to their knees in worship. Some felt “deeply disturbed” and extremely threatened, so much so that they would declare a death sentence on two year old baby boys! These profound reactions occur today. There is no lukewarm when it comes to acknowledging Jesus. You are either for him or you are against him. The consequences of such a decision are sobering. As I sit in the comfort of my living room, the nativity scene under my tree suddenly portrays the deeper message. The Babe laying in a manger in swaddling clothes is a King fulfilling prophecy and challenging the world to a reckoning. A reckoning as to who this baby is. All who encounter Him must answer the question “Who do you say that I am?” I’m praying that those who are disturbed by Him would come to realize His true identity and bow to their knees in worship. He came not to condemn but to reconcile. May eyes and hearts be open to the Truth.

  5. Carrie Butler says:

    My son makes us put the wise men across the room from the manger scene so we can be historically accurate. :) May the joy of the Lord be with each of you this morning.

    1. Christine Mcdermott says:

      That’s awesome ❤️❤️❤️

      1. Ashley Thomas says:

        When my grandmother was alive, she did this as well. She would move them a little each day.

  6. Tricia Cavanaugh says:

    Wow. I’m the first one here. I guess that’s what happens when you can’t sleep.
    Oh that I would be in such awe every time I am in the presence of the King of Kings. Heavenly Father, Savior, thank you for this reminder today.
    Have a good day sisters.

    1. Johanna Pankonin says:

      Lord, I echo this same prayer. Lead us in Your way, back to You, I want to be in awe in Your presence.

  7. Kristen says: Here is that link. That day the kids also did their Christmas production. You can skip to the message if you want to hear about truth and grace. Very good illustration.

  8. Kristen says:

    Jesus changes everything! I’ve been hearing those words a lot lately! God keeps putting those words in front of me. This is so true, but we must let Him. That is my prayer for all today. Please let us be changed so much by Jesus that people are drawn to Him. Let us be a people with a balance of truth and grace that carry His hope and joy no matter what our circumstances are. In Jesus’ Powerful Name Amen. My pastor actually did a message on truth and grace lately, I will post a link. He was saying that we must be balanced. You have to let people know the truth, but also tell them of God’s Grace.

    1. Marina V.Pshichenko says:

      Amen! Beautifully said!

    2. Sharon W says:

      I agree! Thanks for your thoughts❣️

    3. Jennifer Anapol says:

      This is my prayer for my life as well. That I would be so different, since I have been with Christ, that people around me would want to know Christ as well.

    4. Tara Cole says:

      Amen ❤️

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