A long time ago, in a land far, far away, there lived three kings of the East. Their names were Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar. They were very good friends, even though they were not close in age. Melchior was 60 years old, Caspar was somewhere around 40, and the youngest, Balthazar, was in his mid 30’s. They were very wise and learned men, in fact they were called the Wise Men or Magi, which means they were astronomers and very educated about the heavens.
On one very still and silent night they were clustered around a reflecting pool studying the heavens. They were astonished to see a very bright light they had never seen before. What in the world? Was it a star, a comet or another planet? Since they were familiar with the Jewish Scriptures, they remembered, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be a ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. (Micah 5:2.)
Now they knew of this prophecy of a Great King coming forth from Israel. But, there is another king in our tale. He was called Herod the Great, although you will soon learn he was not a great king, but a ruthless, jealous and barbaric ruler of Judea. Thus, our three kings began their journey headed in the direction of the bright light. “Come on Melchior, you’ve read and re-read those scrolls a thousand times. We need to be on our way or the light from that Star will be burned out before we even begin this trek!” They packed their bags, saddled up the camels and headed toward the Sign in the Heavens. Thus, our kings began their long journey to see what this star light was all about.
On the first night of their journey, they noticed the Star stopped when they stopped, and moved when they moved. While Caspar and Balthazar were setting up tents and making a fire, Melchior was carefully reading the ancient scrolls he had paced in his saddle bag. “We could use a little help here, Melchior. Must you read from the scrolls every time we make a rest stop?” “Absolutely, replied Melchior, I feel this may be one of our most important excursions. I believe this jaunt will become so vital in history that it will be spoken about for many centuries. Therefore, I must read and re-read these scrolls to make sure we are on the correct path.”
The other two looked at one another, nodded, and sat before the fire while Melchior read aloud the prophecies of Isaiah, Daniel, and the other prophets of the Israelites. Our three intrepid travelers also brought gifts, as this was the custom. These were also placed in the saddle bags. They brought gifts they felt would be the most helpful to this king they were so excited to meet. Melchior packed Myrrh, used to anoint the dead. Caspar brought Frankincense, which was the symbol of Deity, and there was Gold from Balthazar. The gold would help move the little family out of Judea when Herod, the Not-so-Great, would seek to kill them.
So, after many arduous days of travel, they reached the land of Israel. If you remember, I told you that Herod was a ruthless, jealous, barbaric ruler. Well, just how barbaric you will soon find out. He had many spies that he used to keep an eye out on what was going on the the Jewish nation. He knew the prophecies about a King coming, so he ordered his men to kill all the male babies under the age of two years old. This horrid act is call the Slaughter of the Innocents. Our three wise men did not know about this terrible killing, so when Herod the Not-so-Great, heard there were Magi coming from the east, he sent his spies out to find them and invite them for dinner and an overnight stay at the palace. He lied to them and professed to be so excited about the King of Israel that everyone seemed to be looking for. Herod asked the the wise men to stop back into the palace on their way home and tell him where this King could be found.
As they again started on their journey, the Star was closer and clearer, brighter and larger. When they rode into Bethlehem they were astonished to see the Star had stopped overhead at a wood and straw stable. It just seemed like all the Light of the Universe was beaming out in all directions, yet focusing on a little manger. Our three wise men slowly and carefully approached the stable ” Why, look,” said Melchior. “It’s a little baby. Can this little fellow be the King we have been seeking?” “How can Messiah be born from a mere man?” asked Caspar.
Melchior, Caspar and Belthazar slipped inside the stable to approach the cradle. When they got closer, the babe blinked and then smiled at them. They saw in his eyes the Wisdom of the Ages. Their own eyes filled with tears Mary, the Mother of the Child, gently touched their heads. They were stunned and fell to their knees in worship and adoration of the Child. “We have gifts, said Caspar. May be give them to you and the babe? We were not sure how these gifts could be of use to you, but after seeing this wondrous Child, we know we have been sent by the Holy One of Israel.”
Mary opened each gift and began to cry. You see, she knew what her Son was born to do. She said not a word, but the three wise men didn’t need any words, for they also now knew the Truth. Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar raised their heads and placed their hands upon the Babe and gave him the blessings of Royalty and Kingship. They decided they would not be stopping at the palace of Herod the Not-so-Great. You see, the angels warned them of Herod’s plans. On their journey home they were not in such a hurry. In fact, at each stop they made, they read aloud the scrolls to one another.
They spent the rest of their lives telling all who would listen of their strange journey and what they had found. The three remained friends for the rest of their lives. Each died peacefully, content with what they now knew about the Sign of the Ages…born in a humble stable, sacrificed on a cross; yet forever alive. We can live forever too. Maybe one day we will meet these three special kings who bow only to the One King, The Lord Jesus Christ. I hope you liked my little tale.