We Three Kings

Read: Matthew 2:1-12

And they fell down and worshiped him. (v. 11)

The first line of this familiar carol makes three claims about the magi, and of the three only one is certainly true: they were from the Orient. This doesn’t mean they came from China or Japan; the Latin word oriens is literally “the place of the sun’s rising,” meaning coming from the east. But Matthew doesn’t say how many of them there were, and they definitely weren’t kings—magi were scholars who were a cross between astronomers and astrologers, and were especially numerous in Babylon and Persia.

The magi understood the heavens, so the Lord spoke to them in their own idiom and led them by a star. At Words of Hope, we have seen the way that God still reaches people in all sorts of places and in ways that we wouldn’t expect him to use. He’ll spark an interest in Jesus through a conversation or a dream, and then he’ll lead them to his Word, the way he led the magi to the Bible scholars in Jerusalem, so they can meet God and come to know him personally.

The magi were gentiles. Jesus was born, as they themselves said, the king of the Jews. But his kingship was not intended just for one people. The blessings of his reign—peace and joy and hope—are meant for everyone. Jesus is the light of the whole world, and the magi were a preview of the nations who have come, and who continue to come, to worship Christ the Lord.

As you pray, ask God to bring all nations to worship him.

Listen along: We Three Kings – The Hound + The Fox

About the Author

Rev. Dave Bast retired as the President and Broadcast Minister of Words of Hope in January 2017, after 23 years with the ministry. Prior to his ministry and work at Words of Hope, Dave served as a pastor for 18 years in congregations in the Reformed Church in America. He is the author of several devotional books. A graduate of Hope College and Western Theological Seminary, he has also studied at both the Fuller and Calvin seminaries. Dave and his wife, Betty Jo, have four children and four grandchildren. Dave enjoys reading, growing tomatoes, and avidly follows the Detroit Tigers.

This entry is part 18 of 25 in the series Carols and Lessons