Our text implies that these visitors were men from the East (likely Persia ( Babylon) who were engaged in astronomy (the study of the stars and planets in their celestial motions), through which they sought to understand the order of the universe. This led to astrology (divination based upon the supposed influence of stars on human events) ….It was not unusual for man to look outside his own realm for answers to both scientific and spiritual questions. God has declared Himself in His creation, as Psalm 19 so clearly indicates. So, these Wise Men, who sought wisdom from God’s creation and their accumulated knowledge, understood that there was something significant in the star that appeared; significant enough that they set out on a journey to find answers.
Starting from the East, where they lived, they journeyed westward in the direction of the star. Believing that such signs indicated the birth of kings, or some other notable person, as they were led to Judea, they assumed a Jewish king would be born in the capital city, Jerusalem. When they sought further information, they learned from the Scriptures of the prophecy of Messiah’s birth in the town of Bethlehem. Upon receiving this information, they continued following the star and found Jesus, not in a manger, but in a house ( vs 11). (When we compare Scripture with Scripture, we find that it had been about two years since they began their journey. The shepherds found the babe in a manger, the wise men found a young child in a house). When they found Him, they worshipped Him.
Wisdom is seen in their seeking until they found Him, and once they found Him, they worshipped Him. Such should be the desired end of every one’s personal seeking. Though it may begin with a curiosity, such curiosity often leads to truth and then to understanding. When the truth breaks upon our hearts as to Who He is, worship is the most natural response. “I have found him whom my soul desireth…” exclaimed the Shulamite woman in the Song of Solomon 3:4.
In 1857, John Henry Hopkins had no special insight when he wrote WE THREE KINGS. He merely wanted to write a carol about the visit of the wise men. He just assumed that since there were three gifts mentioned in the Scripture, three wise men were indicated. Not knowing how many wise men were in attendance that day does not negate the facts of their visit, nor does it mitigate their worship. Don’t let what you do not know keep you from acting upon what you do know!
Wise men and women still seek Him…and those who truly seek Him, find Him ( Jer 29:13-14).