Faith Finds Jesus and Worships Him

Matthew 2:1-12


Jerry A Collins




The story traces the quest of these magi to find the one who is born King of the Jews.

(1) Where did they come from?

All we know is they are from the east. Maybe from Babylon several hundreds of miles away. So it would have taken some time for them to make this trip. Maybe weeks or some months to make this trip. They would have arrived some time after the birth of Jesus. So they should not be in the Christmas scene and Jesus was now in a house (vs 11) when they arrived, not the manger. Jesus is also described as a child vs 11 a different word than for a newborn infant (Luke 2:12). Probably from the priestly caste of very wise men famous for their learning and wisdom. Interested in astronomy/astrologywhen observing movements of stars and planets they carefully recorded all they saw. Anything out of the ordinary taken as an omen—a star that could not be identified.

(2) What did they know?

Somehow they knew to come to Jerusalem vs 1 They had received some kind of special revelation in the sky from God to alert them to this news. Possibly this revelation could have also come from contact with Jewish scholars who migrated east or Jews who were still living in Persia at the time. They did not follow the star to Jerusalem. They saw it in the East and came to Jerusalem because of it probably from advice of Jews living there and  said to Herod We saw the star in the East. After they were in Jerusalem the star reappeared to them and they followed it to Bethlehem vs 9-10. Bethlehem is 5 miles south of Jerusalem and stars naturally travel east to west but this star went north to south so what they saw was more then just a mere star. Maybe something like the Shekinah glory of God the same that led the Israelites while in the wilderness as a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night.

Somehow they knew Jesus was King of the Jews vs 2 This knowledge motivated them to travel and give worship to this King. This knowledge is the critical aspect of this story. The whole story revolves around this knowledge. For the magi, it is to find this king and worship Him. For Herod, it is to find this king and destroy Him. For God, it is to reveal this king and celebrate Him. For Matthew, it is to acknowledge this king and identify Him. It is clear that they recognized this child was indeed a King. Perhaps God revealed this to them when they saw the star. What they reveal to us is the proper response to the revelation about Jesus—faith and worship. They came looking for Him based on that revelation. God has revealed the Son to Us and Jesus has clarified that He was sent to us.


The desire to worship is replaced with a troubled spirit.

(1) Where did he come from?

This is Herod the Great and he was not the rightful king from the line of David. Any study of Herod will immediately show he was a ruthless and paranoid tyrant. When he heard that the magi were seeking for the One who had been born king he was disturbed vs 3. In fact he was not even a descendent of Jacob but was descended from Esau an Edomite. He reigned over Palestine from 37bc to the time of Christ’s birth. A Jewish king would be an immediate threat. He tried to ingratiate himself to the Jews by building the temple in Jerusalem. Seems to be thrown into a panic as he calls the Jewish scholars together inquiring where Christ was to be born vs 4. The answer was simple. Micah had given the exact location as Bethlehem vs. 5. This prophecy setting is an announcement of Bab captivity and death/destruction accompanying the invasion. But the prophecy quickly advances to tell how God would later deliver Israel from a least-expected place—Bethlehem. Now Israel 500 yrs later still under foreign domination longing for a champion to throw off the bonds of Rome. Prophesied to deliver His people from oppression, Herod seems to know the time is ripe for fulfillment, yet he is not a righteous champion—not even a Jew. 

(2) What did he know?

Even Herod had made the connection between the prophecy, the star and the visit of the magi vs7. He knew that the Jews had a messianic hope, believed a Messiah, deliverer, would be born. Herod had asked them when they had first seen the star vs 7. This revealed later on that Herod was already contemplating a plan to get rid of this young king vs 16 because he immediately put his well laid out plan into action having had. This, of course, God would prevent, for Herod’s intent was evil vs 8. Notice the secrecy almost conniving taking place in this sequence of events. There is a pretense of interest but all a cover-up. People make a pretense of wanting to know Christ but are more concerned that His presence  will  interfere  with    their lives, their power, their ambitions, their lifestyle. The world is full of people who want to know about Jesus but not because they are looking for the One who will save them from their sins.


They went their way, the star ahead of them, they were overjoyed, saw the child, do homage, present their gifts, and went home by another route warned in a dream. This was their intent of their coming all this way. Matthew is telling us that this child was far more than a future king. Only if He is divine could He be worshipped. We do know that they worshipped Him. It seems they became believers because they worshipped the King of Kings having left their own country’s gods behind to do this. Mary is not the mother of God. Mary is the mother of the physical body of Jesus that is all. Mary is not to be worshipped, Jesus is. The magi looked right past her to the child. They presented gifts to him and worshipped him only. These gifts appropriate for a king. This warning suggests that God was directly communicating with these men and that their role in this whole event was by divine design. And this makes us aware of the primary mover in the story, God. He is not specifically mentioned, but His presence is obvious. 1. The star had guided them. 2. The prophecy had identified Christ. 3. The dream had warned them. Without this divine intervention they would never have come, the scribes would not have known where to send them, they would certainly have fallen into Herod’s trap. The supernatural element moving in the lives of the magi is the true cause of their actions. No other gospel account has this story but other passages reveal the intent of these magi. Phil 2:10-11 because of the wonderful salvation Jesus provided God has highly honored Him. Every knee will give homage to Christ. In revelation, in heaven, he receives all honor, power, praise. So the magi are a little preview of what everyone will do in future, bow before Him as Lord and King. Faith looks, finds, submits, worships and follows even if still not clear how it will all work out.


(1) There is only one way to God (Acts 4:12). The magi were led to the baby at Bethlehem not to some king of their own.

(2) Worship focuses on God the Son plus nothing. the magi traveled for months, worshipped the baby of Bethlehem, gave Him gifts, left, and traveled months back home. They asked for nothing. They had no other agenda, they ignored the Temple in Jerusalem, they ignored the synagogues, they came to a house, looked past Mary and worshipped only Jesus. Today we would suggest be tolerant and worship the gods over in Babylon too but salvation is only in Jesus alone.

(3) Circumstances are to be used for wisdom not a mystical sign of the will of God. Joseph followed the Word of God to return to Israel. But he used wisdom along with the word of God to live in Galilee.