While Christmas cards might depict three “wise men” visiting Jesus, there could have been more. We assume three because the Bible tells us three gifts were presented to Jesus. Our manger scenes don’t convey the whole story or an accurate timeline. The Bible says that the search for the Messiah first took the wise men to the palace of King Herod, the Roman ruler of Judea. The wise men inquired about a newborn King of the Jews and Herod saw another king as a potential threat. After the wise men left, Herod ordered that all boys two years of age and under be murdered in Bethlehem.
We don’t know a lot about the wise men except they were probably scholars who studied the stars. This is why they took notice of a celestial phenomenon that led them on their search. They most likely arrived at the home of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus a couple of years after Jesus’ birth. Although we sing We Three Kings, we’re not certain of their royalty. Either way, their vocations provided the means to offer expensive gifts to Jesus. But before they presented any gifts, the Bible tells us that, overcome with joy, they bowed and worshiped Jesus.
Of all the backstory here, the one that probably gets missed most often is that, while the wise men searched for a Jewish king, they themselves were not Jewish. They were Gentiles. The resounding message is that Jesus came for us all (John 4:42).
We might think of the wise men as educated and smart. But it was their faith and obedience that led them to Jesus.
How can you assume a humble posture of worship today? See this as an invitation, not an ought to or should. When we truly understand the story, there’s nothing else we would want to do.