Imagine celebrating the most significant birth in history, surrounded by family, friends, and even strangers who have walked great distances to welcome your newborn into the world. The birth of Jesus Christ is indeed a breathtaking and awe-inspiring event that continues to captivate hearts and minds even after two millennia.
In this article, we take you on a journey to discover who those first visitors were that were so moved by the prophecy and the Holy Spirit that they made the incredible journey to pay their respects and rejoice in the birth of our Savior. As we dive into the cherished scriptures in the NKJV version of the Bible, we will unravel the stories of the faithful witnesses who beheld the radiant glory of the newborn King, Jesus Christ.
So grab a warm drink and let’s embark on this journey together, retracing the footsteps of those who were first to see and worship the miracle that changed the course of history forever.
1. The Nighttime Visitors: A Star Guided Meet and Greet
One of the most significant events in the Bible that highlights the divine influence of stars and celestial bodies is the story of the wise men’s visit to the baby Jesus, led by a bright star in the night sky. In the Gospel of Matthew, we read that after Jesus was born in Bethlehem, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:1-2, NKJV) Our Lord’s birth was accompanied by a heavenly sign, which drew the attention of these nighttime visitors.
While the Bible does not provide specific details on the exact nature of the heavenly sign, it is clear that the star played a critical role in guiding the wise men to Jesus. In Matthew 2:9-10, it describes their journey: “…the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.” The wise men were overjoyed upon reaching their destination and, without hesitation, presented Jesus with their gifts:
- Gold – symbolizes royalty and, in this case, recognizes Jesus as the King of Kings
- Frankincense – represents divinity and is used for worship, recognizing Jesus as the Son of God
- Myrrh – a symbol of suffering and death, foreshadows Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross for the salvation of humanity
In their praises and offerings, the wise men bear witness to the many dimensions of Jesus’ identity and mission. The star’s guidance towards the newborn King not only signifies the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, but also serves as a powerful reminder of God’s sovereignty orchestrating these events.
2. The Magi’s Marvelous Journey: A Quest to Worship the Newborn King
The quest of the three wise men, also known as the Magi, is nothing short of awe-inspiring. They embarked on a long and perilous journey, following the star of Bethlehem in search of the newborn King, Jesus Christ. Guided by prophecy, these learned men from the East sought to worship Him and present Him with precious gifts. In Matthew 2:1-2 it is written, “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’” This passage reaffirms their determination to seek out and worship the Savior, no matter the cost.
It’s well known that the Magi offered three types of gifts to honor Jesus: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. each gift represented Jesus’ roles as King, God, and Savior. Let’s delve into the significance of each gift:
- Gold: The valuable and precious metal, fit for royalty, represented Jesus’ role as the King of Kings.
- Frankincense: A fragrant, costly incense used in temple worship, symbolized Jesus as our High Priest and His divine nature as the Son of God.
- Myrrh: A rare and valuable spice used as anointing oil and for embalming, pointed to Jesus’ future sacrifice on the cross for our salvation.
In Matthew 2:11, we learn that the Magi, “when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” This powerful moment bears witness to the deity and majesty of our Savior Jesus Christ and is a prophetic foreshadowing of His ultimate purpose on earth.
3. Humble Shepherds and Divine Angels: Witnessing the World’s Greatest Miracle
When the greatest miracle of all came to pass – the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ – God chose to make the grand revelation to humble shepherds. In Luke 2:8-11, it is written: “Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’” Imagine being at work, diligently tending to your chores, when all of a sudden, a divine messenger appears before you to bring news of the fulfillment of God’s promise! The Almighty chose these unassuming individuals to be the first to hear about the birth of His son—our precious Messiah.
As if this miraculous announcement to the shepherds wasn’t astounding enough, the heavens put on an incredible display to commemorate the moment, employing a whole host of angels to appear and sing praises to the newborn King. Luke 2:13-14 states, “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’” Putting ourselves in the shoes of these humble shepherds, we are reminded of the awe and wonder that this experience must have inspired in them. The events of that night highlight three significant truths about the nature of Christ’s arrival:
- Divine appointment: God intended for these shepherds to be witnesses of this life-changing event, and His angels served as divine vessels of His message.
- God’s love for the humble: It was not to powerful kings or religious leaders that this news was first given, but rather to these modest shepherds, signifying that God embraces and exalts the meek and lowly.
- A Savior for all: As the angel declared, Jesus was born to bring salvation and hope to all people, regardless of their social status, wealth, or worldly accomplishments.
As we marvel at the extraordinary ways in which God orchestrated the birth of our Savior, we are encouraged to embrace a spirit of humility and gratitude, knowing that it is through His grace that we are able to witness, receive, and share the life-transforming power of Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ was a significant event that attracted various visitors who came to witness and honor the arrival of the long-awaited Messiah. As we have seen, the humble shepherds and the wise Magi were led by divine intervention to bear witness and offer gifts to the newborn King. The shepherds, guided by the angel’s message, found Jesus lying in a manger with Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem (Luke 2:8-20 NKJV). The Magi, on the other hand, traveled far from the East, following the prophetic star to pay homage to the one born to be the King of the Jews (Matthew 2:1-12 NKJV).
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus every year, it is crucial to remember the awe and wonder that surrounded his arrival on earth. Just as the shepherds and the Magi were drawn to his presence, we too are invited to seek Jesus, rejoice in his coming, and offer our lives as gifts in surrender to his loving grace. Let us be inspired by the example of those who came to see Jesus when he was born, eagerly seeking his presence with faith and devotion.
May this glorious event continue to remind us of the profound love and care of our Heavenly Father, who sent his only Son, Jesus, to bring light, hope, and salvation to a world in need. As we draw near to him, let us reflect on the miraculous story of Jesus’ birth and share the joy of his love with others around us. And just like the shepherds and the Magi, let our lives be transformed by the encounter with Jesus, God’s greatest gift to mankind.
When Jesus Christ was born over two thousand years ago, a great number of people flocked to the humble manger in Bethlehem where he slept. Despite its relatively humble origins, this event earned the attention of some of the most powerful and influential figures of the era.
The first to arrive to visit Jesus were three wise men, referred to in the Bible as the Magi. As the Bible tells us, the three Magi, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, were “wise men from the East”, often assumed to have been Persian clerics, who glimpsed a sign among the stars heralding the birth of a new king and made the journey to Bethlehem to pay the newborn homage and offer him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
The Magi were, however, not the only important figures to come to the manger that night. As the Bible also tells us, a group of Shepherds were also present at the Nativity. The Gospel of Luke states that these Shepherds were watching over their flocks in the fields outside of Bethlehem when they were visited by the Angel of the Lord, who told them of Jesus’ birth and announced “glad tidings of great joy” and invited the Shepherds to come and witness the birth for themselves.
Finally, in addition to these two pious groups of visitors, Jesus and his parents appear to have also received the visits of Elizabeth, Mary’s relative, and the priest Zechariah, Elizabeth’s husband. These two figures were crucial in preparing Mary to be the mother of Jesus, both spiritually and symbolically as they provided her with the support and reassurance that she required in her role as the one chosen to bear the Son of God.
Ultimately, the event of the Nativity of Jesus Christ was attended by some of the most important and influential members of Jewish society, as well as several figures with spiritual or symbolic importance. Whether they were invited to bear witness or simply found out about the event independently, the visitors of the Nativity demonstrate the immense interest and anticipation with which Jesus’ birth was met by his people and serve as a clear representation of the profound impact that his life had on the world.