St. John’s Baptist Church

Worship | Sundays @ 10:30am

From the Heritage Room: The Story of the Magi

Continuing from “The Epic of Jesus” by Dr. Chauncey Durden, the following is the story of the Magi:

While yet the mother happy did rejoice

Over her firstborn Son and to her breast

The Infant pressed, wise men from out the east

Came, guided by a strange new Morning Star,

To find and worship Judah’s new-born King.

By day they stayed, and journeyed on by night

But scarce had they come near Jerusalem,

When lo! The Star had passed from out their sight.

Perplexed and saddened because they missed the Star,

They came into the city and inquired

Of men upon the street concerning Child:

“Where is He that is born King of the Jews?

For we have seen His Star shine in the east,

And journeying hence, we come to worship Him.”

When this was told to Herod Idumean,

Usurper by intrigue of kingly rights,

He was troubled with all Jerusalem,

Lest revolution follow at the news.

For long had Israel waited for Messiah,

Whose right it was to sit on David’s throne

And by His power beak off the Roman rule.

Such hope had kept them pacified till now.

But like the smoldering fires with power pent

Deep in the womb of earth await the time

When liaison of crust no longer holds,

To burst with fury forth in volcano

So had the chosen People long endured

The baneful rule of Gentiles over them,

Waiting the time their foes to overthrow;

From in the sacred Rolls the prophets spoke

Of time when the Messiah shall break their yoke.

Then Herod called together the Chief Priests

And all the Scribes, the Teachers of the Law,

Demanding where Messiah should be born.

And when they had the Scriptures searched, they said:

“We find that in the sacred Rolls is told

The place, but not the time, when shall appear

Messiah, David’s Son to sit his throne”:

For in the Book ‘tis writ: “Thou Bethlehem

In Judah’s land, the province of Ephratab,

Though thou art small, yet by no means the least

Among thy brethren, from thee shall come forth

The Prince and Ruler over Israel.’

When Herod this had pondered long in mind,

With secrecy he summoned the wise men,

Communing with them sought to learn of them

The portent and the time the Star appeared.

And when they had rehearsed in full their rede,

While he is all detail including heard,

Spoke kindly, and to them gave gifts, and said:

“Our Hebrew Prophets long ago hath told

Concerning things ye tell, and Him ye seek,

Who shall be king and in my room succeed.

My reign has prospered, and I have made the throne

More glorious than Solomon’s golden age;

In splendor unsurpassing reared the Temple,

Kept peace and order mong the turbulent, 

Have patiently waited the time to come,

When this new Prince on earth be born,

And I, in honors rich, in age advance,

 Might with reluctance none lay down the cares;

Divested thus might yield to His command,

And place the royal scepter in His hand.

Moreover this now seemeth heaven’s decree,

Made doubly sure by portent yet reveal:

Go seek with diligence in Bethlehem

Until this Child ye find, where His abode?

His parents who? Their wealth? If guards keep?

And what acclaim is made that He is King?

When all is noted down in full account,

Return, and hastening back bring word to me,

That coming I may also worship Him.”

Departing thence the wise men made their way

From out Jerusalem to Bethlehem,

And from the city’s gate their way they took;

But out beneath the darkening skies and stars

At night along the lonely road they walked.

With ever watchful eyes upscanning sky,

They murmured soft a prayer to find the Star.

Then far out over hills they saw its beams;

Uplifted high the burning beacon rose

With glowing light and moved along the way

Until it stopped and stood above a cottage home;

Its sphering crimson shot soft saffron rays

In points of radiance downward on the roof

Where dwelt that night the holy family.

And seeing the Star they were exceeding glad,

For now they knew the holy Child was found.

And following on they came until the house

And calling woke the good man from his sleep.

Upon the threshold they good Joseph met,

And reverential making their salaam,

They asked of him to see the new-born King:

And when they saw the Child they worshipped Him,

Presenting gold and frankincense and myrrh.

And with their service ended they withdrew

To journey back until Jerusalem,

And make report to Herod what they found.

When mind and heart be so attuned to hear

The cosmic note that eats in pulsing waves

Through all the universal mind’s domain,

Wherein the Truth divine is oft revealed,

The conscience then to man may be his guide,

And he by mystic leadership may choose

His way, and choosing find the way of right.

The wise men were not far upon the road

When sounding of a warning mystery

Their souls possessed, and cogitation deep

Awakened fear that they should not return,

Nor yet disclose to Herod what they found

Of Child and Family in Bethlehem,

This warning Voice they heard and turned aside,

Andy by another way departed home.