Q: Who were the wise men who brought gifts to Jesus after he was born? Were they actually kings, like the old Christmas carol says? — T.J.
A: The Bible calls them “wise men” or “Magi” from the east (probably the country formerly known as Babylonia, which was hundreds of miles from the land of Jesus’ birth).
Who were they? Over the centuries many legends grew up about them that probably have little historical basis. But the Bible does indicate that they were scholars to whom God gave a miraculous sign: a special star in the heavens telling them that God’s Messiah had been born. Although we can’t be certain, they may have descended from Jews who were forcefully deported to Babylonia hundreds of years before. The Old Testament prophesied, “A star will come out of Jacob, a scepter will rise out of Israel” (Numbers 24:17).
The most important thing about them, however, is what they did. First, they looked for Jesus, in spite of the difficulties (and also threats from King Herod). Second, when they found him, they bowed down before him and worshipped him, and then they gave him costly gifts. The Bible says, “When they saw the star, they were overjoyed” (Matthew 2:10).
Sunday, millions of Christians across the world will celebrate Christmas, the birthday of Jesus Christ. What about you? Will it simply be another holiday, filled with food and presents and good times — and nothing more? Or will you be like the wise men, seeking him and coming to him, and then worshipping him and committing yourself to him as your Savior and Lord? Welcome him into your heart and life today, and then make it your goal to make him the king of your life. He alone is “Lord of lords and King of kings” (Revelation 17:14).
Write to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or go to BillyGraham.org.