God wanted the people to know about the coming of Christ to the earth. The priests should have taught the people to look for the Saviour; but they themselves did not know of His coming.
So God sent angels to tell the shepherds that Christ was born, and where they might find Him.
So, too, when Jesus was presented at the temple, there were those who received Him as the Saviour. God had preserved the lives of Simeon and Anna, and they had the joyful privilege of testifying that Jesus was the promised Messiah.
God meant for others, as well as the Jews, to know that Christ had come. In a country far to the east were wise men who had studied the prophecies concerning the Messiah,and who believed that His coming was near.
The Jews called these men heathen; but they were not idolaters. They were honest men, who wanted to know the truth, and to do the will of God.
God looks upon the heart, and He knew that these men could be trusted. They were in a better condition to receive
light from Heaven than were the Jewish priests, who were so full of selfishness and pride.
These wise men were philosophers. They had studied the handiwork of God in nature, and had learned to love Him there. They had studied the stars, and knew their movements.
They loved to watch the heavenly bodies in their nightly march. If a new star should be seen,they would welcome its appearance as a great event.
On that night when the angels came to the shepherds of Bethlehem, the wise men had noticed a strange light in the sky. It was the glory which surrounded the angel host.
When this light faded away, they had seen in the heavens what looked like a new star. At once they thought of the prophecy which says, "There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel." Numbers 24:17. Was this star a sign that the Messiah had come? They determined to follow it, and see where it would lead them. It led them into Judea. But when they came near to Jerusalem, the star grew so dim that they could not follow it.
Supposing that the Jews could at once guide them to the Saviour, the wise men went into Jerusalem, and said, "Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him.
"When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him,In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet." Matthew 2:2-5.
Herod did not like to hear of a king who might some
day take his throne. So he took the wise men by themselves, and asked when they first saw the star. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying: "Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found Him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship Him also."
When the wise men heard this, they started again on their journey. "And, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
"When they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh." Matthew 2:6-11.
The most precious things they had, the wise men brought to the Saviour. In this they set an example for us. Many give presents to their earthly friends, but have none for the heavenly Friend who has given them every blessing. We should not do this.To Christ we should bring the best of all we have--of our time, money, and our love.
We may give to Him by giving to comfort the poor, and to teach people about the Saviour. So we can help to save those for whom He died. Such gifts Jesus blesses.