“Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”(verse 2)
The deification of monarchs was nothing particularly unusual in that era (the Egyptians had worshipped their Pharaohs; and the Roman emperors would soon be demanding the worship of their subjects). What was unusual was this party of astrologers wanting to pay homage to the king of another (and totally alien) nation. Whatever the nature of the ‘star’ that they saw, their astrological beliefs had led them to the conclusion that some momentous event had taken place in Judea and that a new age had been inaugurated.
It is interesting to contrast the Gentile travellers with the Jewish leaders. The Magi’s information amounted to next to nothing – but they acted upon what they did know, travelling vast distances at great expense (the value of their gifts was breathtaking) to find and adore a King to whom they had had no previous connection. But the Jewish priests, with Scripture and centuries of tradition to draw upon, showed no interest in welcoming their very own, long-awaited Messiah. They knew it all – even His birthplace – but did absolutely nothing.
“All the nations You have made will come and worship before You, O Lord; they will bring glory to Your name.” (Psalm 86:9)
This is just one of many psalms that look forward to a day when the whole world will acknowledge Israel’s God as their own.
The promise of a world ruler arising from the nation of Israel goes right back to Genesis, when Jacob prophesied that his son Judah would be the ancestor of One “to whom the obedience of the nations belongs.” (Genesis 49:10) It reaches its climax in Daniel’s vision of a human being who will be worshipped as God by the whole world (Daniel 7:13,14).
The reality (Revelation 5:6-14)
John’s vision of heaven shows Jesus as the focal point of all true worship – the worship of the created world (represented by the four living creatures), the worship of God’s people of all nations (represented by the 24 elders) and the worship of the angels.
“…with Your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”
The recognition (John 20:28,29)
Thomas stands for all those who struggle with some aspect of Christianity or another. He doubted the reality of the Resurrection, and demanded proof that it was not a product of imagination or deceit. His “moment of truth” came when Jesus appeared to him personally –his doubts dissolved away when faced with his risen Master, and he prostrated himself in worship.
What is a Christian, in essence? It is someone who obeys Jesus as Lord and worships Him as God.