This story is featured in Prepare the Way: Advent and Christmas Bible Stories for Kids.
Jesus Christ was the Messiah. He was the King of the Jews, yet his spiritual kingdom would extend beyond Israel. The three wise men were foreigners, but they came from their country to find the prophesied king.
As you read this story, pay attention to the reason the wise men from the east come to find Jesus.
East of Israel, in another country, three wise men saw a unique star rising up into the sky. These three men left their homes to follow the star, for they knew it meant a new king was born in Israel.
The men traveled to Jerusalem and asked to meet with King Herod, who was the appointed king of the Jews.
“Where is the child who has been born King of the Jews?” they asked him.
Herod was quite upset about the question. He was already the king of the Jews. “Why do you ask this?” he said to them.
“We saw a star rising up into the sky, so we came to pay our respects to him,” they said.
King Herod dismissed the wise men and called for his chief priests and scribes to ask about the star. He was worried someone would come to take away his power. He knew the scriptures told of a Messiah that would be born King of the Jews.
“Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” he asked them.
“Why, in Bethlehem of Judea, of course. This was told to us through the prophet Micah: ‘But you, O Bethlehem, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days,” they said.
Herod called for the wise men to return. He asked them more questions about the star, and his fear grew.
“Go and find the child. When you find him, come back and tell me where he is, so I can go and show my respect to him, too,” he said to them, but secretly he wished to learn the whereabouts of the child so he could kill him.
The king released them, and they followed the star to the small town of Bethlehem. When they saw they were at the place where the star stopped, they were filled with joy.
They saw Mary and Joseph with the child. Mary welcomed them, and they each knelt down and bowed their heads before the newborn king.
The wise men raised their heads and greeted Mary. They opened three gifts that they had brought for the child. The gifts were fit for a king. They’d brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
They stayed only a little while. That night, they had a dream that warned them not to return to King Herod. Instead, they returned home to their country by another road.
- Why did the wise men come to find Jesus?
- Why was Herod so afraid of the news from the wise men?
- How can you pay respect to Jesus?
- What gifts can you give to God with your life?
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