The Kingmakers

by Sylvia Bambola December 22, 2014 15:43 PM

Who were the Magi? Tradition tells us there were three of them who followed a star to Bethlehem, then presented Jesus with gifts. For the most part it’s correct, except the Bible doesn’t tell us the number. I suspect the tradition of “three” came about because the Bible mentions three gifts they brought: gold, frankincense and myrrh; all valuable and all prophetic.

So, were these just “smart” men who happened to be looking up at the sky one day and observed something unusual and decided to investigate? No and no. The magi were elite members of a governing class in Persia or modern day Iran. They were powerful, educated and extremely wealthy, and knew astronomy and prophecy, even Bible prophecy. They were from a special cast called Magoi, from whence the name Magi comes, with no connection to magic. But because of their knowledge of astronomy and prophecy, they were considered a mystical priesthood probably with occult powers. They worshipped the elements: fire, water, earth and air, rather than multiple gods which was more typical of those times. They had great political power that continued throughout several successive empires: Babylon, Medo-Persian, Greek, and Parthian. The Megistanes, comprising their upper council, were the kingmakers of the ancient world. Their decision, even in matters of state, were considered final and binding. No one became king without their approval.

It was during the Babylonian era that the magi became acquainted with the prophet Daniel, a Jewish captive who served more than 70 years at court and who was greatly respected. It was surely during this time the magi became exposed to Jewish scripture and the writings of the Jewish prophets, including Daniel’s. His ninth chapter speaks of the coming Messiah and King. It wasn’t long before the Magi’s religious manifestations heavily reflected aspects of Judaism. Since they were well acquainted with Daniel’s prophecy of the birth of a Messiah and great King they were continually studying the stars looking for signs of His coming. And when they saw it, it compelled them to travel countless miles to lay their treasures before this “promised one” and declare Him “king.”

The delegation of the Magistanes would have included up to a hundred magi, a large entourage of servants, and a vast army to protect them. They would have traveled in grandeur and style, and the sight of them would have inspired not only awe but fear. There was no way Herod dared to lay a finger on them.

So these wise men from the east, these kingmakers, came in great pomp and ceremony to declare Jesus, KING. And their spiritual insight was sufficient that when they saw Jesus, in his humble home as a young toddler, they weren’t fooled. They still recognized Him for who He was.

The Bible tells us that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the place were the lambs for the Temple sacrifice were bred and raised. Did the magi know that this was a foreshadowing of Jesus as the Lamb of God and that before Jesus came as King He must first come as the Lamb to be slaughtered as a sacrifice for us? I don’t know. But they did know that here was a great king, and their presence was a declaration of that fact. And according to their power and authority, this declaration, in the natural, was final and binding.  

We know Jesus didn’t need the magi to make Him king. He already was/is/will be. But isn’t it just like God to confirm His plan and purpose? To use the natural to confirm the spiritual? As Christmas nears, let us prepare our hearts to not only accept Jesus as the sacrificial lamb, but as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Wishing you all a very blessed and Merry Christmas!

Until next time,

Sylvia

Category: Spirituality

Two Sides of King Jesus

by Sylvia Bambola January 21, 2014 16:28 PM

Jesus knows the end is near. Soon He will fulfill His role as the “Lamb of God” and sacrifice His life for all. But before He does, something interesting happens. In Matthew 21:1-11 He tells his disciples to get a certain donkey with its colt, and then He rides that donkey into Jerusalem. The crowd is beside themselves as people spread their garments on the road before Him. “Hosanna,” they shout. “Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.”

What was going on? Verse 5 tells us that this was in fulfillment of a prophecy in Zechariah 9:9, “Say to the Daughter of Zion Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” So this was Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem acknowledging Himself as King and being acknowledged by the crowd as king for that was what they meant by calling Him “son of David.”

But it wasn’t the first time Jesus had been acknowledged as King. It happen when the Magi followed the star to Bethlehem in order to kneel before Jesus and lay their gifts at His feet. The Magi were considered “kingmakers” and in the Medo-Persian Empire no one became a king unless the Magi elected and crowned him. It was here in Bethlehem that Jesus was elected King, even though no such election was necessary for God, But it was a sign to us. And soon, after this entry into Jerusalem, Jesus would be crowned King—with a crown make of thorns.

It wasn’t unusual for a king to ride a donkey, either. Solomon did it in 1Kings 1:33 when he rode a mule to Gihon to be anointed by the prophet, Nathan, as king over Israel. It was a sign of humility but also a sign of peace. Kings rode donkeys when coming in peace and they rode war horses when going into battle.

So here we see a picture of Jesus, the King of Kings, entering Jerusalem in peace; humble and meek and ready to die for each of us. What a picture of the heart and character of God! But there’s another side of Jesus’ Kingship. When He returns He’ll not be riding a donkey. Revelation 19:11-16 tells us that He will be riding a white horse, with His vestures dipped in blood, “and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORD.” He will not be a King of Peace, but a King coming to do battle with the unsaved of the world. What a contrast to King Jesus in Matthew!

Oh what a cautionary tale this is for us. Let us submit ourselves to our meek, gentle King for if we don’t, we will eventually be forced to submit to the King whose vesture is dipped in blood.

Until next time,

Sylvia

Category: Spirituality