This Sunday will be the fourth Sunday of the Advent season. To celebrate “the coming” of “God with us,” we are using the “Christ in Christmas: A Family Advent Celebration” book published by NAVPRESS.
The focus this week is on the Visit of the Magi. One of my favorite accounts of their visit comes from R.C. Sproul who tells a story of the big king and the little king.
These two kings lived in the land of Palestine at the same time. One was about 70 years old and the other was an infant. The big king was a rich, powerful tyrant. The little king was a poor, helpless child. The big king lived in a big palace; the little king lived next to a stable with his peasant mother and his adoptive father.
The big king was Herod “the Great” who worked as a puppet for the Roman government. He was a master builder, famous for building the temple and one wall of the temple still stands today known as the “Wailing Wall.” Herod had problems, however, due to the fact that he was the king of Judea as proclaimed by Rome, but he was not the true King of the Jews. So, when Herod received unusual visitors from the East who were looking for “the King of the Jews,” he was very disturbed and he caused quite a stir.
The three visitors, traditionally called kings or magi, were probably astrologers from Persia. They had arrived in Jerusalem having followed a star from their homeland to Jerusalem. They asked Herod, “Where is He who is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” Herod was threatened by the possibility of another king being in his realm, so he lied to the magi and asked them to find the king. He further requested that they let him know where the king could be found in order that he might visit the king as well. His true intent was to do away with the competition this new little king represented.
The magi left Herod and followed the star to where the little king had been born. They worshipped Him and presented Him with gifts that were reserved for royalty- gold, incense and myrrh. During their visit, God warned the magi and the little kings father about the big kings true intentions. So, the magi returned home using a different route and the little king and his parents fled to Egypt. After their departures, the big king enraged at being caught in his own deception, ordered all the infants two years old and younger be killed.
Not long after these series of events, the big king died and is now remembered as a little king. The little king grew up and became the King of kings and the Lord of all lords. This story tragically footnotes how one king missed the true King. Throughout history there have been numerous kings, queens, princes and princesses who have ruled with limited sovereignty. Each knowingly or unknowingly have been under the dominion and authority of the Supreme King. Christmas and Advent, reminds us of the birthday of ultimate royalty, the nativity of the true King; the King of all kings who reigns forever. Jesus Christ is the true King.
Merry Christmas to all.