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. Lisa HoodParker says:


  2. Joyjoy says:

    Enjoy all the comments today
    Dominique, love your comment…..
    My husband and I refer to our kids’ “post Christmas fits” which occur about now, that selfishness that rears it’s ugly head when the empty hole isn’t filled with stuff. They don’t know how to process that. Yes thanks for the thought of the wise men coming later as an encouragement to Mary, to us all. (Not that Jesus had any selfishness, etc etc) It breaks down fast. But cool thought. The truth of the gospel goes through time!
    Thank you Kaitlin and thank you designer for the beautiful graphic today.

  3. Meg Herndon says:


  4. Aimee D says:

    To process this all as if I were Mary or a Wise Man, oh the faith to believe!

  5. Alissa says:

    Sam, I do think there are other clues in the text that point to Him being older than a baby. The Matthew passage only refers to Him as “child” rather than babe or baby as Luke does at the birth. Also Matthew 2:7 says Herod asked the wise men when the star had appeared and then used that conversation to decide what age boys to kill (Matt. 2:16) Matthew 2:11 refers to the house rather than a stable…. All those things make me assume that He was a bit older than we always assumed…. For what it’s worth. :)

  6. Angie says:

    Wise men…
    Following – the star
    Planning – to worship
    Falling – to their knees
    Presenting – treasures to the Treasure
    Leaving – on a God chosen path of life, better

    Godless king…
    Following no one – living for self
    Planning – evil
    Flying – into a rage
    Protecting – himself and his stuff
    Leaving – others weeping, great mourning, bitter .

    Matthew 2 clearly exemplifies the choice we all make,
    What we do with Jesus
    Determines what we do today.
    Following right or self
    Planning for worship or evil
    Falling to our knees-humbly, or flying into a rage-selfishly
    Presenting our treasures, or protecting our “stuff”
    Leaving/living God’s path better or bitter

    Reality: (similar to Paul’s words)
    I long to live as a wise man always,
    but, fall to the level of a king at times…
    The only answer…

    And, once again, I am on my knees
    In worship and pure adoration
    For the newborn babe, coming humbly – KING OF KINGS – Lord of Lords,
    Coming for Wise men, for Evil kings, and for everyone in between.

    Thank you Jesus.

    1. Tara Cole says:


    2. Stephanie Scott says:

      Lovely writing Angie. I’ll read this many times for ponder

  7. Dominique Marlow says:

    Hi! I’ve never written in this section before, but I really love that the wise men are included in this study, and that their section takes place after Christmas celebrations. I mean, they didn’t show up until Mary was in the thick of it. I don’t know about your kids, but mine started getting in trouble around after two. And if it wasn’t trouble, they were curious, and always into something. (Throwing laundry out of baskets and leaving, anyone?) Sure, the wise men came for Jesus, but I’m sure they were a great reminder to Mary: what you’re doing now is important. Motherhood is worth it. He is, and will be, great. This stage won’t last forever, now go pick those clothes up. You got this.

    1. Jessica Hayhurst says:

      What a beautiful perspective to a story we’ve heard so many times. I’m not a mother so I can’t exactly relate but I can imagine Mary’s struggle and possibly losing sight of the bigger picture. Thanks for sharing!

    2. Summer Chavez says:

      Yes, thank you!

    3. Helena Rose says:

      Wow this is so good!! Thank you for sharing!

  8. Betsy Pittman says:

    Bessie, I’m so sorry you lost your mother. Your memory of her this morning is beautiful. It made me smile and think to what a beautiful gifting that simple statement was to you as a child! ~ B

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