Long may he live;
may gold of Sheba be given to him!
May prayer be made for him continually,
and blessings invoked for him all the day!
May there be abundance of grain in the land;
on the tops of the mountains may it wave;
may its fruit be like Lebanon;
and may people blossom in the cities
like the grass of the field!
May his name endure forever,
his fame continue as long as the sun!
May people be blessed in him,
all nations call him blessed!
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things.
Blessed be his glorious name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory!
Amen and Amen! Psalm 72:15-19 ESV
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:1-11 ESV
Confucius was a wise man who lived in China a long time ago, hundreds of years before Jesus was born. He taught the people of China good ways to live. He also taught emperors wise ways to rule the people. In China an emperor was called the son of Heaven, and Confucius taught that if the emperor followed the ways of Heaven, he would bring good things to the people of China. Confucius dreamed of an ideal emperor. Someday, he thought, there might be a ruler so wonderful that: “Therefore his fame overspreads the Middle Kingdom, and extends to all barbarous tribes. Wherever ships and carriages reach; wherever the strength of man penetrates; wherever the heavens overshadow and the earth sustains; wherever the sun and moon shine; wherever frosts and dews fall:–all who have blood and breath unfeignedly honor and love him. Hence it is said,– ‘He is the equal of Heaven’”
The people of Israel had the same dream, but for them it was more than a dream. God had promised to send them a Savior, and his promise to David was that the Savior would be born in David’s royal dynasty. The people looked to God to send them a wonderful king who would rule them in justice and peace. God would give his people wonderful blessings through their king. Psalm 72 says again and again that this king would rule not only the people of Israel, but that his rule would extend to all peoples in the world. He would be known forever, and people from far away would bring him gifts of gold.
When Jesus was born, a star appeared in the sky, and wise men from the east came to pay homage to the new king. They brought gifts of gold, and also costly frankincense and myrrh. The visit of the wise men was just a little taste of the way Jesus was born to be the king not only of the people of Israel, but also of people everywhere. Jesus is the Son of God, and so he is God’s equal. He rules his people in love and righteousness. His kingdom has spread to many parts of the world, and his people today still share the good news of Jesus near and far. Jesus died and rose again for the sins of all people, and he welcomes people from all over the world into his kingdom.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending us Jesus, our wonderful Savior and King. In His Name, Amen.
Legge, James The Life and Teachings of Confucius, Vol. 1 London: N. Trubner and Company, 1877, pp. 316-317.