Christmas has come and gone, and with it holds the traditions and the story of Christ’s birth. Some of the characters in the story are recognizable, but perhaps not well known.
The three wise men, also known as kings from the classic carol “We Three Kings,” were spiritual and religious leaders called the Magi. They likely were from Babylon and studied prophecies and religious texts, which would have included the Old Testament. They were astrologers, looking for the king of the Jews, “for [they] saw his star when it rose and have to come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2, English Standard Version)
They saw the star and recognized its value in its connection to the prophecy. They traveled far to pursue a King who had not yet been crowned and to worship him.
The star would not have been the only indicator of Jesus’ arrival. Let’s take a look at some of the prophecies the Magi would have been familiar with as they came to worship him. Jesus’ birthplace in Bethlehem and his ancestry as a descendant from the tribe of Judah are prophesied here:
“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” (Micah 5:2, ESV)
Other prophecies claimed that the King of the Jews would be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The genealogical records described in Luke 3:23-38 confirm the ancestral line and confirm Jesus’ identity as the prophecies predicted.
Genesis 3:15 prophecies he would be born of a woman and Isaiah 7:14 prophecies that he would be born of a virgin. Both of those prophecies come true with Jesus’ birth.
The virgin birth is described to Joseph in a dream by an angel who said, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21, ESV)
The prophecies were coming true and there were more to come as he completed his ministry and redemptive work on the cross.
Prophecies alone are significant, but they only point out what is to come. They provide indicators of what to watch for.
The true value comes when they are fulfilled because the anticipated person has come. The religious prophecies and texts also beg the question of belief. The Magi believed and they immediately responded in worship. It’s crazy to think about the long journey they must have taken. How exciting it would have been to see the young Jesus and be full of hope after waiting for so long!
Likewise, I believe we should be full of wonder and hope as well in response to Jesus’ birth. Many of us have access to the entirety of God’s Holy Word in the Bible. We can read the prophecies foretold in the Old Testament and see many of them fulfilled in the New Testament.
The prophecies and evidence for Jesus’ birth and identity should invite us to be like the Magi, to come to worship him and bring our gifts with wonder.
“44 Old Testament Prophecies of Jesus” by Mary Fairchild. https://www.thoughtco.com/prophecies-of-jesus-fulfilled-700159
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.