The reason three wise men would journey from a far away land to Bethlehem has never been fully explained. There have been numerous treatises and attempts to grasp the significance of this event but with no real success. The early fathers were very much embarrassed by the mention of “a star”, which might indicate an endorsement of Astrology which they considered to be an evil art.
But why would these three men who were apparently wealthy and of high rank set out on a very long journey to worship Jesus? This is indeed very baffling and extraordinary. It is well known that the Magi, out of whose ranks these men came were well-versed in Astrology and were known to be very close to nature.
Later these three men were identified as kings. But why would kings visit the infant Jesus? “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him” Matt.2:2. These men have been variously described as Persians, Arabians and so on but whatever their origin, the fact still remains that a strange astronomical phenomenon which they were able to interpret must have induced them to make that journey.
The reason for the journey is, however, an open question. This may be a vital link in the chain of events surrounding the earthly life of Jesus, one of the many events which until now have not been fully explained. Could the kings have perhaps another role or purpose other than just to visit and worship Jesus? Why receive such enlightenment and make such a journey just for the purpose of offering gifts? They said they had come to worship Him and that would be reason enough but was that all? Why was the earthly path of Jesus so difficult? Could these kings have helped to make it any easier? Why was Jesus so vulnerable to earthly attacks without much of an earthly support apart from the few ordinary people who really had no influence? How was it possible that nobody rose to His earthly defence? There had to be more to the visit of the three kings.
Even though Jesus was to journey into a soil hostile to the Light, running as He did the risks of molestation, provision would have been made for His earthly protection. The three kings did not receive advice or enlightenment as to where to find Jesus just that they could worship Him, they received enlightenment so as to be in a position to offer the protection that Jesus would need in such an environment. A protection which was of extreme importance and the lack of which proved fatal. Soon after the three kings departed, the murder of the Innocents took place and Mary had to flee with the Child. Even when Jesus began His Mission, He was all alone without any earthly support or refuge whatsoever and when finally the time for the inevitable confrontation came, there was absolutely no earthly authority or power to stand by Him.
It is doubtful whether the priests would have been able to do what they did if Jesus had had the earthly support He sorely needed. He had spiritual support of course; He was the Son of God but what about the balance to that? What about the earthly support that would have enabled Him to fight off His attackers (fighting like with like)? This, however, was lacking and this proved fatal. The priests, knowing that He lacked this had the temerity to arrest Him and finally sentence Him to death. Something that would have been impossible had He had this earthly bastion which was so necessary.
The failure of the three kings! The facts of the events immediately after they left proved the importance of this protection they would have offered. The Child was pursued and Mary had to flee with Him. Jesus then would not have needed to wander the streets but would have worked from the top. He would have had His own earthly kingdom which would have been an example for all in the way it would have been organized. Lacking protection, however, abandoned, all alone, He was forced to wander the streets, something which would never have happened to a Son of God if humanity had been right.