Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Three Travelers (Matthew 2:1-12)

The three travelers stood in the chamber, waiting for an audience with Herod, the Roman appointed king.  The three were wealthy astrologers from the east.  They had spoken of a star they were following, one all of Judea could see in the night sky.

"So tell me about the star," Herod said as he sat heavily on his throne.

"It guides the way," one of the travelers responded. "We have studied the heavenly bodies of light for most of our lives.  The stars tell us of a king.  A great king.  He who has been born will be the king of all the Jews.  We saw his star when it rose in the eastern sky and we have come bearing him gifts."

"Tell me about this king," Herod said his fingers caressing the fine fabric of his robe.

"We know little of who he is.  We know only what the stars have shown."

Herold called a few teachers of the law into the meeting.  The men hurriedly gathered around their king in a nervous fluster of activity.  They were scribes and priests, men who had studied the word of God, men who feared Herod.  They each told their ruler of a prophecy spoken by the prophet Micah. "The scriptures say that in Bethlehem a great leader will be born who will guide his people.  There are those who believe this is a foretelling of the messiah's birth."

Herod kept his jealousy and anger to himself.  He forced a smile when speaking to the three travelers.

"It seems that Bethlehem in Judah is the place you seek.  Our sacred word states that a great king will be born in the town.  You three should go on ahead of me, seek out this king and worship him.  After you have placed gold bracelets on his wrists and ankles, return to me.  I wish to follow you in humility and worship this king of the ages."

The Magi in the House of Herod - Jacques Tissot

The three travelers agreed to return to Herod and share with him news of the child.  They mounted their caravan and began the shortest leg of their journey.  When they looked to the horizon they saw the same star they had followed from their homeland.  They rejoiced, as the end of their journey was near.  The star went ahead of them until it stopped over a small home where the child lived.

They bowed before the child and his parents and offered gifts from their land, gold and spices.

Upon leaving the home one of them mention a dream he had on a previous night. "I do not think that Herod is very sincere, nor is he happy that a king has been born in the land he governs.  He seems the type to be threatened by another ruler in this land, even if that leader is a small child."

"Herod is a puppet king, put in place by the Roman authorities."

"He is a jealous king."

"One who is given limited power by the legions of Rome."

"Exactly!  I believe Herod wishes the child harm.  We have come and worshiped. Let us now return home by a different route and avoid Herod."

They agreed and the three travelers climbed onto their camels and led their caravan toward the desert sands.

"This one is different than all other kings," one traveler said in reflection. "There has never been one like him and there will never be another."

copyright 2017 - Donald P James Jr 

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