Summary: For 3 billion people, the birth of Jesus is one of the most important celebrations of their entire year. In churches in every country on this planet, people gather to worship the child who became the Savior of the world. In many of those 3 billion homes,
Isaiah 40-66 = A Suffering Servant.
The Jewish community would also have had a scroll of the book of Isaiah. The second half of the book of Isaiah is all about the Messiah who will come as a suffering servant.
Numbers 24:17 = A Star Rising out of Israel.
They would also have had a copy of the book of Numbers. Numbers 24:17 says that a star will rise out of Israel. One of the subjects all wise men studied in school was how to read the stars. They were great astronomers. They believed the cosmos communicated to them by means of star alignments and configurations. According to their thinking, people and nations were associated with certain stars and constellations. The Jewish nation, for instance, was associated with the constellation Pieces. Pieces is the fish. Centuries before, God had sent a prophet to these same peoples. The prophet Jonah was delivered to them by a huge fish, who spit him up on dry land just outside the city of Nineveh. So they associated Jews and fish.
At the birth of Christ, something happened in the constellation of Pieces that communicated to these Parthian wise men that the star of Israel had been born. So they packed their camels and donkeys, enlisted a few dozen servants, and traveled to the capital city of the Jewish Jerusalem. When they arrived, they asked where the king was to be born.
2 Chronicles 6:16 = Come as a king.
These wise men, through their resident Jewish community, would have had access to the book of 2 Chronicles. In 2 Chronicles, God promises Solomon that a descendent of his father David will rule forever. From this, the wise men know that when this one, born of a woman comes, he will be born of kingly lineage. Specifically, he’ll be a son of David.
Daniel 7:13 = Come as God and man
They also have the book written by Daniel, the long-deceased chief of the Magi. Daniel describes the Messiah as both a God and a man.
Isaiah 53:5-10 = Come to die.
In the middle of the suffering servant description, Isaiah describes how this king-God-man will die.
The Gifts of the Wise Men
When the wise men come to Jesus, they bring three gifts: Gold, which the gift for royalty, a gift for a king. Incense, which was for divinity, a gift you give a God. And myrrh, which is a funeral gift, a gift used for burial. Their gifts show amazing insight. At first hearing, you might think these gifts were a lucky coincidence. But they’re not. God set up the events of Christmas in such a way that you would know that He was carefully orchestrating each element of it, years in advance.
Nine months before Christmas, God sends an angel to tell Joseph and Mary about the birth of His Son. Christmas night, God sends angels to communicate with shepherds about the birth of His Son. Hundreds of years before Christmas, God sends a holy man – Daniel – to the eastern peoples to prepare their highest caste, their wise men, to respond to the birth of His Son. God communicates to wise men that the Messiah will be king and God, and that He will come to die. Through a combination of Daniel’s leadership, Hebrew Scripture, and the tailor-made revelation of a star, these wise men know as much or more about the nature of Messiah as the Jewish people. I believe that God did this so that people like you and me could have confidence that He was involved in the Christ of Christmas.