“Who were the wise men that visited Baby Jesus? Where did they originate? What does their visit mean?”
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The Magi seem to have been familiar with astrology but not with the Hebrew Scriptures, suggesting that they probably were not Jews (Matthew 2:2). Their heavenly sign reminds us of the oracle of Balaam the soothsayer, who lived in the days of Moses: “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; a star shall come forth from Jacob, and a scepter shall rise from Israel (Num.24:17).
The story of the Magi also brings to mind the prophecy of Isaiah, who revealed with greatest clarity the salvation of the nations through the anticipated Jewish Messiah. “Nations will come to your light; and kings to the brightness of your rising,” Isaiah had prophesied, seven centuries before Jesus. “The wealth of the nations will come to you. . . . All those from Sheba will come; they will bring gold and frankincense, and will bear good news of the praises of the LORD” (Isaiah 60:3-6).
The baby born to the Virgin Mary was the descendant of Jacob, born to reign as king. He was the Light of the World, who enlightens Jew and Gentile alike. He is worthy of our gifts, regardless of our national or ethnic origin. Like the Magi of old, wise men and women still are privileged to bow before this Jesus in adoration and in awe.