The wise men were noble scholars, priests, and philosophers from the distant East. This search for the incarnate Christ constituted a message from God about the status and future work of Mary’s child. Here is their search — and how it may be ours also, leading to God.
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem, saying ‘where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east and are come to worship Him.’
And our subject is ‘the search of the Magi’: the ‘wise men’ as our King James translation puts it, and first of all a few words on who they were. I’m sure you know something about them, but they were scholar-philosophers and priests from old Persia. The most distant of those places would be a thousand miles journey to Jerusalem. They were a very old company of people in the Eastern world, and we read about them back in the Old Testament in the Book of Daniel, going back to 600 605 BC where they were court advisors. Many of them were mystics; they had invented their own kind of religion.
They were very accomplished astronomers and astrologers too, so what they had done is decided that the movements of the stars and heavenly bodies somehow influenced and governed events that took place on earth. So they moved their expertise in astronomy into a kind of religious dimension, and read all sorts of things (as some do today) out of the stars, and their religion was really centered around that study.
But there were many who were curious, and who looked beyond the ideas of their own priestly caste. They were probably influenced by many Jews that had been taken into captivity into Babylon, and at court there was Daniel, the prophet of God, and he was there standing by the old faith that he had been brought up in, and had a firm relationship with the one true and living God.