The Three Kings, although if you look at the narrative in Matthew it doesn’t say they were three, in fact it is unlikely that they would be Kings/heads of state…
Nor does it say they are from the Orient (China) although that is bizzarely more probably (back to this later), nor are they called Casper, Balthazar and Melchior.
Also, if the star appeared when Jesus was born and they came from a far and distant land it might have taken them quite a while to travel to Jesus (that is presumably why Herod killed all the boys under 3 as the wise men could have been travelling for over a year to get to Bethlehem), yet in most nativity plays the Kings almost trip over the shepherds leaving the stable.
Sometimes artistic licence can actually have us believing things the Bible never actually says…
Anyway, you might be waiting with quizzical eyebrow raised about the idea of Chinese wise men?
What’s the grounding for this?
The obvious answer is there isn’t, except that these were people ‘off the page’ off the map’ they didn’t know who they were or where they had come from, if they did they would say wisemen from Babylon, or wise men from Persia or Rome, but
they just say ‘the East’… Something of God bringing people who weren’t even known about, as a prophetic picture that this Salvation wrapped in swaddling clothes is for people outside and beyond our world view, nations and tribes we have not yet discovered still long to meet Christ.
It also is a timely reminder to remember that God is the evangelist, no one sent them a flyer about Jesus, God drew them to himself without any human help.
Also, just a thought on star gazers and people wrapped up in stuff we probably think is dodgy (which it is) but I think it is showing people who are searching for God yet looking in the wrong place, but God I believe saw their seeking and even though they were looking in the wrong place and doing it in the wrong way, he still led them to Jesus.
I do think the Church has got a bit judgemental about people who are spiritual seekers but looking in the wrong place
Anyway, I’m going off subject, these guys travelled miles to meet Jesus and when they were nearly there at the end of the journey they thought they knew it all and messed up.. What of us, we follow Christ and then veer off course just before the end… Have any of us turned the Sat Nav off after a long journey thinking we know the way only to get lost… The wise men having been faithful allow misconceptions and their own world view to lead them away from Jesus and into trouble, lets be people who follow Christ not just faithfully at the beginning but all the way until the end…. It makes me think about things that I’m sure God has called people too who bail out before God calls them to put it down.
The gifts I reckon are great prophetic emblems, Gold symbolizing the Kingliness and Kingdom of Christ birthed at his birth, Jesus is the one who is sovereign over all, powerfully phrased by Graham Kendrick when he wrote “hands that flung stars into space to cruel nails surrendered”.
The next gift, incense, the who idea is that Jesus had a priestly anointing, to stand between God and his people and to make a sacrifice on behalf of the people. Jesus is both our great high priest and the lamb that was slaim.
And finally the Myhhr, the expensive embalming fluid, something about the significance of his death.
Epiphany questions to ponder:
1. How did you first come to see Jesus?
2. How do you see Jesus now?
3. How do you show Jesus?