My focus today is upon the Magi or the Wise Men. My earliest recollection of these men comes from the Christmas carol We Three Kings. Because of this Christmas carol, I often mistakenly think of these men being kings and that they were only three in number. Although these are false facts, other words of the carol about these men are true. They did come from the east to find Jesus and they brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. In actuality, these men were a distinguished group of foreigners who studied astronomy and most likely had followed a star for over two years to find and worship the baby born to be king of the Jews. The Magi did not find Jesus in a manger because he was most likely nearly two years old and lived in a house with Mary and Joseph when they arrived. (On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. – Matthew 2:11) They were not kings and they had no crowns.
The Magi were not kings but they were looking for a king as recorded in the gospel of Matthew. (Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” – Matthew 2:1-2) The idea that there might be a baby who would be king of the Jews was a threat to another king. I am referring to King Herod mentioned in the next verse of Matthew 2. (When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. – Matthew 2:3) King Herod did not want another king! King Herod did not know this Baby King loved him and had his best interests in mind. Unfortunately, people in positions of royalty are often threatened by those who they presume to become more powerful or popular than themselves. Herod was a king and he had a crown. However, he felt like his position as ruler was vulnerable.
Looking again at Matthew 2:2, I note that the gospel writer refers to the newborn baby as being king of the Jews. At his birth, I see Jesus simply as a baby laying in a manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes. (see Luke 2:12) However, by wearing a crown of thorns when He was crucified for the sins of the world, He not only was king of the Jews but king of all. The day is yet to come at the end of the age when we will proclaim Jesus as King over all the earth and He will reign throughout all eternity. He will be riding on a white horse and on his head will be many crowns. On His robe and on his thigh will be the name KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. (taken from Revelation 19:11-19) Revelation 19:1 says, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for true and just are his judgments.” At the time of his birth, Jesus did not look like a king and he did not wear a crown. The first crown He wore was a crown of thorns. Now we wait for the day when He will be King of kings wearing many crowns.
So, my first legitimate reference to a king with a crown was King Herod and my second reference was to Jesus, but there is still another reference to people who will wear crowns. It is with great humility that I search for scriptures to support the reality that someday I will be among those who wear a crown. My crown will not be a tiara made of jewels. In fact, it will not be any kind of earthly crown. This crown will be known as the crown of life as described in James 1:12, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” The crown available to me is not only a crown of righteousness but it is also an imperishable crown according to Paul in I Corinthians 9:25.
I want to quote a couple of Psalms to substantiate my premise that there will be crowns for Christians. From Psalm 103, I have selected verses 1, 4, and 19. “Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name….Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;…The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all.” I like these verses because they emphasize the rule of the Lord as well as the crown of love and compassion for me. Psalm 8:1-5 is another favorite of mine. I quote some verses from this section of scripture, “O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!… When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty!” (my emphasis) Here I sense the kingship and rulership of the Lord in the beginning verses, but the Psalmist concludes by saying that I am crowned with glory and majesty! Wow! If I am to wear a crown, it is a crown given to me by the King of kings and the Lord of lords. And what do I want to do with my crown? I want to join the elders mentioned by John in Revelation 4:10-11, “the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.’” I am not a king but I will one day wear a crown.
I cannot help but think of the hymn Crown Him with Many Crowns composed by Matthew Bridges and Godfrey Thring. The first verse of this hymn is as follows:
Crown him with many crowns, The Lamb upon his throne:
Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns All music but its own.
Awake, mu soul and sing Of him who died for thee,
And hail him as thy matchless King Through all eternity.
JESUS! The Lamb of God who was born in a stable shared with little lambs, but who now is the Lamb upon the eternal throne of God. If we only believe in Him, He takes away our sins and gives each of us the crown of eternal life. He is not only King of the Jews, but He is King of all creation. He is the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords. The Magi came to worship Him. Herod was threatened by Him. I chose to follow the example of the Magi. I choose to worship Him and honor Him as King this Christmas season and throughout the rest of my life.