The Magi & The Silk Road

Epiphany—or Three Kings’ Day—is a Christian feast day celebrated twelve days after Christmas, traditionally every January 6. This celebration marks the arrival of the magi—the “three kings”—who came from the east to worship the child king. During a recent visit with a partner from China, I had my own epiphany that has broadened my understanding of this divine house call.

Some believe that these men, traditionally three in number (though unspecified in Scripture), represented three different regions of the world: Europe, Asia/Arabia, and Africa. And that they traveled by horse, camel, and elephant to bring generous gifts for the Christ child: gold to symbolize Jesus’ royal standing, frankincense His divine nature, and myrhh His mortality.

But listen to what my friend told me: The Chinese history entitled Ch’ien-han-shu, or the “Book of Han,” tells of a new star that was sighted in March of 5 BC and remained visible for seventy days (about ten weeks), just enough time for the magi to follow a star in their journey from the Far East all the way to Bethlehem. This means that, using very early star-gazing equipment, a skilled Chinese astrologist witnessed the biblical star of Bethlehem…from China! He set out to investigate and was joined en route by other astrologists.

The history book includes a final report from the Chinese magus two years after the sighting of the star—sufficient time to allow for him to complete a round trip from China to Bethlehem via the Silk Road.

According to my friend, this same ancient route is now being used by our brothers and sisters in China to carry another priceless gift—the gift of eternal life—to unreached people! Like the magi who used this route to bring gifts to Christ, many believers in China have adopted the task—with great honor—of completing the journey of carrying the Gospel from their homeland to Jerusalem.

We have the privilege of locking arms with our Chinese brothers and sisters as they serve the Lord by sharing the life-giving message of the Gospel along a new branch of the ancient Silk Road. Please join us in prayer as we walk this path together throughout 2016 and beyond.

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