One of the expectations for the Messiah is that He would be the ruler of all people, and the nations would come from all over the earth to serve Him.
In Matthew 2:1, we find a Scripture on the Birth of Jesus which shows that this began to happen right away.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem.
Born in Bethlehem
Bethlehem was a royal city, the city of David. By indicating that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Matthew was revealing the fact that Jesus was of the royal lineage, of the house and family of David (cf. Luke 2:4).
Yet though Jesus was of royal descent, he was not born in a palace, but in a lowly stable, which may have been a cave, or an animal pen under a house. A throne was not ready for Jesus, for instead, a usurper sat upon the throne.
The Days of Herod the King
Herod was not Jewish, but through political maneuvering with the Roman Emperor, and been able to secure for himself the title of “King of the Jews.” Herod the Great ruled over Israel from 37 BC to 4 AD. He was a cruel king, killing many of his subjects and family members because he suspected them of trying to take over the throne. As a result there was a saying was that it was safer to be Herod’s pig than Herod’s son. He also spent fortunes on constructing many homes around Judea, and in an effort to get himself recognized as the Jewish Messiah, he even rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem so that it rivaled the beauty of Solomon’s Temple. In these ways, it is seen that Herod craved the honor and glory of being king.
And so he must have been thrilled one year when wise men from the East came to Jerusalem to speak with Him.
Wise Men from the East
Herod undoubtedly greeted these dignitaries from the East with all the pomp and ceremony he could muster. And so how shocked and outraged he must have been to find out that they were not there for him, but had come to visit the newborn king! Herod, who had killed his own sons to protect his reign, would not have been pleased to hear about the birth of a rival.
So he sends them away to find this newborn babe, asking them to return to him when they did. We know, of course, that the wisemen went home by another route, and so Herod had to resort to killing all the boys in the region of Bethlehem who were two years old and younger.
Yet before all these events, the wise men found Jesus and worshiped Him, giving Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Just as the prophets had predicted, the world was coming to see Jesus, to serve and worship Him, and in the process, was toppling kings from their thrones (cf. Luke 1:52).
The contrast in this Scripture between Jesus in His stable and Herod on his throne is starkly and sadly ironic.
Scriptural Books on the Birth of Jesus
Here are some helpful books for learning more about what Scripture teaches on the topic of Jesus' birth. Click on a book below to see pricing and reviews.