When it comes to the story of the birth of Jesus, I never noticed the Magi until I read Passion for the Heart of God. John Zumwalt wrote the Magi were Gentiles from another nation; that is, they aren't Jewish and they weren't from Israel, but they came to worship Jesus.
What? People from a different nation worshipping Jesus? Why had I never noticed this?
While reading the Matthew 2 story of the birth of Christ, Dr. Wayne Grudem*** also took particular note of the Magi, the "wise men from the east." Matthew 2:10-12 reads,
When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
Grudem explained that when the Gentiles came to worship Jesus, the foretold King, it was a sign from God that He was expanding salvation to all nations of the earth. They bring their wealth and treasures in worship.
This wasn't the first time in the Bible the wealth and treasures of the nations were brought in worship of God, but it also didn't happen often. In the Old Testament, the wealth of the nations are brought to Jerusalem because of the profound wisdom God had put in Solomon (2 Chronicles 9:22-24):
"Thus King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put into his mind. Every one of them brought his present, articles of silver and of gold, garments, myrrh, spices, horses, and mules, so much year by year."
It happened later in the New Testament when Paul and representatives from many different Gentile churches brought gifts to Jerusalem to aid in the local church in their financial distress, Romans 15:25-32*** says,
"They [Gentile Christians in Macedonia and Achaia] were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them [poor Jewish Christians in Jerusalem]. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their [Jewish] spiritual blessings, they [Gentiles] ought also to be of service to them [Jewish Christians] in material blessings.” (see also 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, 2 Corinthians 8-9)
And finally we see the fulfillment in Heaven, a climax for which the all the previous gifts have been pointing, in Revelation 21:22-26, the nations bring their glory to praise God for all eternity:
"And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations."
Grudem ties it wonderfully together when he said,
I think when the wise men are bringing gifts to baby Jesus, they are showing a foretaste of all the wealth of the nations finally coming to rest at the feet of Jesus and being used to honor him when he reigns as king over the whole earth.**
It wasn't an accident that the Magi came to Jesus: they came to worship the King. This event was a foreshadow of Heaven. For eternity we will be worshipping Jesus with people from every nation, every tribe, every people, and every language. May we use the Christmas season to worship with a full heart the One who is worthy of the worship of all the nations!
**Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology podcast "How to Interpret the Bible (4 of 7), timestamp: 35:50
***See the IVP New Testament Commentary on 2 Corinthians 8