There is something intrinsically fascinating about the story of the Magi: there's the bright, glowing star, the encounter with Herod, and then there's the gold, frankincense, and myrrh. One of the most interesting aspects of the story concerns the identity of the Magi.
The Gospel of Luke tells us the most about the events surrounding Jesus' birth. Specifically, it tells us of the worship Jesus received from fellow Jews (the shepherds in the flocks, Simeon, and Anna). Matthew's gospel, however, does not contain anything about the shepherds, Simeon, or Anna. Instead, Matthew chooses to focus on the worship that Jesus received from Gentiles— the Magi.
The story of the Magi, in a sense, foreshadows the salvation that was soon to come to the Gentiles. The Magi were not Jews, and yet they ask King Herod, "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?" (Matthew 2:2) Ironically, when the Magi's news of the new King of the Jews spread through the city of Jerusalem, all the people were troubled.
What a vibrant contrast Matthew chronicles! On the one hand, the people living in the heart of Judaism— the city of Jerusalem— are troubled by the news concerning their own prophesied Messiah. On the other hand, the Magi— likely wealthy, Gentile kings from many miles away— are filled with joy that this very Messiah has been born. Jerusalem is troubled by the coming of their Messiah, but Gentiles are painstakingly searching for Him out of a desperate desire to worship Him!
Matthew's portrayal of Gentiles as the first worshipers of the Christ is not something to be skipped over. We can only wonder what must have happened about two years after Jesus' birth when the Magi arrived at His house. What must His father, Joseph, have thought? Perhaps he was pondering those words he had heard from the angel so long ago: She [Mary] will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).
Maybe... just maybe, Joseph began to consider that the people whom his "Son" would save from their sins included people from every tribe, and nation and tongue— even Magi!
Let us never forget the graciousness of God in saving people from every nation on earth!