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I Am Salazar, Chief Magi of the Persian Empire

Magi are trained in science, agriculture, mathematics, history and astrology to serve the kingdom.

Daniel was the Chief Magi for many years. Many of his Jewish practices were adopted, because of their truth. His God explained dreams that no others could.

Daniel prophesied of a world-ruler coming after seventy weeks. He would restore and rebuild Jerusalem. The entire world waits for this Jewish king to arrive near the end of the first century. We watch for it. We expect it. The time has come.

Kadir, the expert magi in astronomy, waited for my attention. His eyes glowed with excitement.

“What is it?”

“Come see.”

I followed him to the roof of the palace. I knew it was important by the bounce in his step. My heart beat faster. Was it the Coming One?

Kadir pointed. “It’s so simple. This God of the Jews leads His people clearly. Their prophecy is fulfilled. Look!”

The sky was clear. The stars shone brightly. A new star would shine brighter than the others. I gasped. “It shines brighter than the morning star!”

Kadir pointed over my shoulder. “Notice what constellation it’s in.”

I focused. The constellation Virgo, the virgin who has a child, points to Coma, the constellation of the child. Coma means ‘desired one’ or ‘longed one.’ He is longed for.

Kadir smiled. “The new star completes the Coma, the constellation of the child from the virgin. The Christ-Child is here. What will we do?”

I could not take my eyes from the sight. The story was in the sky, like I was reading a scroll in my hand. “We must go and see this King.”

Seeing the star created a stir in the palace.

I decided who would go. Some were curious seekers, wanting to see a King that would rule the world. But others had watched for the signs, and listened not just with their ears but with their hearts. Those men would go with me. When the final word was made, I chose twelve men who would journey to Judea.

Our caravan required an army escort. Highway robbers would be tempted by the gifts that we’d bring to the new king. Robbers would covet our rich robes and kingly attire. We were provided well by the king as his counsellors. We reflected his power and his throne. He would not want us to look shabby. He was anxious for us to go.

Kadir bowed before me in my chamber. “I have a request.”

I was surprised. Kadir did not seek requests. He lived with his studies and included people when he must consult with the king.

I was busy with all the preparations. I could not stand, waiting. “What is it?”

Kadir cleared his throat. “I wish to go with you.”

I laughed.

His face fell. He had misread my laughter.

I grabbed his shoulder and squeezed. “You are the first who must go.”

He breathed deeply, like a weight had been lifted from his chest. “Thank you. I must see this King Who holds all the earth’s deliverance in His hands. I must know Him. My heart is empty and I must know if this King will bring the fulfillment of what I need.”

Kadir did not speak much. This message came from his heart. I reminded myself to shut my mouth. This is what I sought, too. “We will find it together.”

Kadir bounced on his toes, a sign that he needed to go back to his studies and away from people.

I let go of his shoulder. “You will go. And you will stay by me.”

I laughed at the bigness of his eyes. The caravan was arranged by order of importance. Those most important were protected by those who went before and after. I was the Chief Magi and held the place of honor. Many assumed that the next magi, who trained to take my place, would sit beside me. He was not going. Kadir would sit beside me. “This King will do more for the world, than any king that has come before or after Him. We must prepare.”

He bounced out of the room. The honor that I bestowed on him was not what made him bounce. His heart was becoming free by the prospect of meeting this King.

I felt the same way. I turned back to my packing, my anxiety left me. The need to know this King remained.

We had traveled many days and had reached the city of Jerusalem. The crowded streets made travel difficult.

When we arrived at the palace, the splendor was not to be compared. King Herod had been busy with his many years as king. What kind of palace would he construct for the new King?

We were ushered into his presence. We approached his throne, and bowed before his steps.

Herod did not rise. In Persia, we were treated with honor by our own king. He depended upon our counsel for his kingdom, his safety and his life. Herod’s reception made me wonder about him. Didn’t he have his own counselors? “Where is He Who is born King of the Jews?”

Herod’s neck veins bulged. His heart could be seen pounding through all the layers of his robe and tunic. He paced in front of his throne, shaken by the news.

Didn’t they know their own prophecies by Daniel who told of the Coming One? Weren’t they looking for their own King? I could not fathom their ignorance. I could not excuse their lack of preparation. Herod was a Jew. Shouldn’t he know his own law?

I rose to my feet. “Daniel, the Magi of your people, prophesied of a Coming One who would deliver His people. The 490 years is completed.”

Kadir could not contain his excitement. “The Child is here.”

“Child?” Herod spoke like an ignorant man.

Must we tell him all the prophecies of the coming King? We only knew what Daniel had told us. Their other prophets should tell them more. “The King will save His people.”

Herod sat, as if the information taxed him.

No one stepped forward to advise him. “Don’t you have counselors who could find where the Child is born?”

Herod stared ahead. “Why haven’t I been told about Him?”

I shook my head. It was common belief, even the Romans knew that one would come out of Judea. That’s why one of their emperor’s wanted Jerusalem to be his capital rather than Rome. This is what comes when rulers make appointments to thrones. I tried to hold my disgust. They aren’t trained, or learned about anything, yet they rule a people? I calmed my irritation. I must find where the King is, even if His own people do not look for him. “The whole world waits for His coming. All know.”

Herod pulled at his bear, his brow furrowed. “I must consult with my chief priests and scribes. I will let you know.”

I did not trust him. Yet, we had no other option. I nodded as we turned to go.

Later in a private consultation, Herod appeared calm.

One of his scribes read from his scrolls “For out of Bethlehem a Ruler shall come Who will shepherd My people Israel.”

He asked what we knew.

Kadir shared eagerly of what he saw. In his child-like innocence, he thought all desired to know the King as he did. “According to when I first saw the star, the Child could be almost two years.”

I cringed. I did not want this ruler to know of the King. I did not trust him. But I needed his help to find him. He had the Law of the Jews. “In Bethlehem.” That was all that they knew. We had come this far, we would go and see. Someone would be able to direct us to the King.

As we turned to go, Herod followed us to the door of his chamber. “Find the Child. Report to me, so that I, too, may worship Him.”

I did not nod, but Kadir agreed.

We arrived in Bethlehem.

The soldier at the gate questioned us, “What business do you have?”

We repeated the words asked in Jerusalem, “Where is He who is born King of the Jews?”

His confusion was evident. “You mean, Herod the Great?”

Is this just an ignorant people? I shook my head, biting my tongue. I want to see the King. The pressure in my heart had increased as we traveled. We were so close to the answer of my need.

This people did not look for their King. They knew nothing, they cared nothing.

Kadir asked, “How will we find Him?”

I shook my head. “We will camp outside the walls of the city tonight. I will know what to do in the morning.”

He nodded. He strove for truth, hungering for it like a man in the desert without water.

I swallowed. I don’t know what another night camping in the desert would bring me. I wished that the stars would answer. Why had I given him confidence? His eyes told of his heart’s needs. It reflected my own heart. I longed for wholeness. I had wisdom, wealth, power, but my heart needed something. What? I felt, like Kadir, that this King would have the answer. If this God had brought us this far, then He could direct us to Him.

That night after all had gone to sleep, except the guards, I lingered long over my vessel of warmed camel milk. I thought about this King. Tomorrow will tell me.

I nodded over the vessel. I must have dozed, for I dreamed of Herod. We should not return to Herod. He should not know where the Child is. My dream also assured me that we would find the Child. I had peace.

In the morning, Kadir dressed in his finest, sat on his camel, holding the reins. If he could bounce on a camel, he would have, waiting for my signal to begin. He met my eye.

I laughed. “Yes, Kadir. We will meet Him today.”

We entered the city. The other magi followed me, an unusual request, but I must lead them to the King. This God would show me. We left the main streets of Bethlehem, for the side streets, where people threw their waste in the middle. They were nothing but rutted pathways. The caravan went single file. How could anyone live in such poverty? We would find the King here? Had I taken a wrong turn? But my heart pushed me forward.

People watched from doorways and windows.

I stopped and dismounted. I bowed to a man who stood at his doorway “Where is He who is born King of the Jews?”

He smiled and motioned us inside. Had he expected us? The soldiers guarded our caravan. Twelve of us crowded into his humble house.

Where were the others who would worship this new King?

When my eyes adjusted to the dark interior, I saw a young mother holding a child. He was the King Whom we sought. I fell to my knees on that dirt floor and bowed my head and cried. “We have found the King!”

I could not rise for a long time. My heart was full. This Babe would bring deliverance.

“Tell us about the Child.” It was Kadir speaking.

We listened as the mother and man told of the angel’s visits. How the virgin conceived by the Holy Spirit and bore a Child. How the angels told shepherds.

I looked around the house. They were lowly people, of lowly birth. The man’s hands reflected a tradesman, a carpenter. “Why are you here?” My question confused them. “Wouldn’t a king be treated like a king?”

The man smiled sadly. “Our people don’t believe.”

I nodded, understanding coming. “A woman not married, a true virgin, but not believed.”

The man nodded. Nothing more was said.

That night, Kadir showed the man the star.

The man stood straighter. He embraced Kadir. “I will look at the star and be assured when the people do not believe, and times are hard. Thank you.”

I watched the embrace: this humble man, with a cloak full of patches, and repairs against Kadir’s cloak of sapphire blue. The men were the same: Kadir believed. This man, Joseph, believed. The King was uniting people of every class to know Him, even before He could talk.

We lingered over our worship, over our meal, over our visit. I did not want to leave. But I felt an urging, the longer we stayed, the more danger we brought to the Child. I remembered my dream of Herod. We must leave.

Before we left, we gave the Child gold, frankincense, and myrrh. I looked at the gifts before him. They were common gifts given to a king. But this time, they did not seem enough. The man, Joseph, walked us to his door. He hesitantly put his hand on my shoulder, knowing of his lowly class but emotional from the gift. “I cannot thank you enough for the gift.” He swallowed. “I would work for Him, but no one would pay for my services. They only see the Child, born without a Father.” He paused and looked down. When he raised his eyes to meet mine, they held tears. “Our needs have been great. Your gift will help. Thank you.”

I felt ashamed at my meager offering. I had thought it great when preparing to leave my country. In this house, so needy and lowly, I felt that I should have given all that I owned, and it still would not have been enough. My heart longed to stay with this Infant. To see how He would grow and deliver His people and the world…I looked one more time at the mother with the Child. I tore my gaze away and walked quickly to our awaiting camels.

I had met the King and worshipped. The longing in my heart would be satisfied by what this Child would do. I could not wait for His deliverance.

We returned to our country a different way, to avoid Herod. We would not bring danger to the Child.

We had been traveling for many hours when I finally asked Kadir. “What do you think?”

Kadir looked over the hills of Israel toward the east and home. “This Hebrew God unites people from all over the world, from every class and people, not by force or power or military strength, but by reaching into their hearts and pulling them to His own heart. But not everyone will know Him. He won’t coerce them; He petitions, like a servant, allowing them to choose. Yet someday, He will demand all to acknowledge Him as King, not just of the Jews, but of all people, of all time.”

Again, Kadir surprised me with his wisdom and his expression of his heart. I felt the same in mine. I looked at the sky, even though the stars did not shine in the daylight. We had found the King. We had worshipped. Now what should we do?

Kadir was not finished. “I’ll wait until the King delivers my heart from its bondage. Then I will be free.”

I would wait, too. The people had waited 490 years for His birth. It was a small thing to wait for His deliverance. But I found that my heart couldn’t wait too long. I longed to know Him now.

Sources:

ASK: Associates For Scriptural Knowledge. Who Were the Wise Men? n.d. http://www.askelm.com/star/star002.htm (accessed October 8, 2015).

E. Raymond Capat M.A., A.I.A., F.S.A. Scot. The Glory of the Stars. Glendale, CA: Dolores Press, 1976.

Macarthur, John. "How Did the Magi Know About Jesus?" Grace to You. September 3, 2015. http://www.gty.org/resources/bible-qna/BQ060812/how-dd-the-magi-know-about-jesus (accessed October 8, 2015).

Morris, Henry M., Ph.D. "When They Saw The Star." Institute for Creation Research. n.d. http://www.icr.org/home/resources/resources_tracts_whentheysawthestar/ (accessed October 8, 2015).

 



Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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