Memorize this verse as a family:
Matthew 2:1-2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
Listen. Israel waited a long time for their Messiah to come. The Messiah was a special king who would save them and rule forever. This Messiah is Jesus. When Jesus was born, God sent a secret message in the stars. This message could not be read by God’s people in Israel, but only by Magi who lived very far away.
The Magi studied the stars to find messages from God. God put Jesus’ star in the sky so that they would come and look for him. Read the story together in Matthew 2:1-12 and discuss these questions:
- How surprised were the people of Israel when the Magi knew about the birth of the Messiah and they didn’t?
- Herod was the fake king of Israel. How did he feel now that the real king has been born? Do you think he wanted to worship Jesus or get rid of him?
- What do the Magi do when they see Jesus? Who is the only person we bow to and worship?
- What presents did the Magi bring Jesus? Why?
- Why do you think God announced the birth of Jesus with a secret message to the Magi and not his own people?
Activity: (if it is age appropriate) Have the kids draw a picture of the three different reactions to Jesus: Herod’s, Jerusalem’s, and what the Magi did when they saw Jesus. Have the kids explain the pictures they drew and discuss who responded to Jesus in the right way.
Respond. The story of the Magi is an “upside down” story where God’s people are not ready for Jesus, and people who are far away from God come and worship Him. We need to follow the Magi. Worship is telling God how great he is. We can do this with prayer, songs, and the things we do.
- How will we worship Jesus the way the Magi did?
The Magi gave Jesus gifts fit for a king: gold, frankincense and myrrh.
- What will we give to Jesus?
Share. The story of the Magi is that Jesus is the God and Savior of all people, not just people who are like us. If God sent a message to the Magi telling them to come to Jesus, who can we invite to come and worship Jesus? Make a plan to share Jesus with someone you know.